Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 245–263 | Cite as

Specialized Versus Versatile Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: A New Approach to Studying Intergenerational Transmission from Violent Versus Non-Violent Fathers: Latent Class Analysis

Original Paper


This paper investigates whether fathers who have been convicted of a violent offense transmit criminal and violent behavior more strongly than fathers who were convicted, but never for violence. First, a more traditional approach was taken where offending fathers were divided into two groups based on whether they had a violence conviction. Secondly, Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was performed to identify two classes of fathers, one of which was characterized as violent. Sons of fathers in this class had a higher risk of violent convictions compared with sons whose fathers were in the other class.


Specialization Intergenerational transmission Latent class analysis Violence 



I am greatly indebted to David Farrington and Donald West for the data collection of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development. Furthermore I would like to thank Catrien Bijleveld, David Farrington, Christopher Geissler and the IoC Writing Group as well as the anonymous JQC reviewers and the editors for their helpful comments on drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank the Gates Cambridge Trust, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and VSBfonds for financial assistance to undertake this research. Data collection for the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development was funded by the UK Home Office. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology in San Francisco.


  1. Agresti A, Agresti BF (1978) Statistical analysis of qualitative variation. Sociol Methodol 9:204–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ananth CV, Platt RW, Savitz DA (2005) Regression models for clustered binary responses: implications of ignoring the intracluster correlation in an analysis of perinatal mortality in twin gestations. Ann Epidemiol 15:293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avakame EF (1998a) Intergenerational transmission of violence and psychological aggression against wives. Can J Behav Sci 30(3):193–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avakame EF (1998b) Intergenerational transmission of violence, self-control, and conjugal violence: a comparative analysis of physical violence and psychological aggression. Violence Vict 13(3):301–316Google Scholar
  5. Bandura A (1971) Social learning theory of aggression. In: Knutson JF (ed) Control of aggression: implications from basic research. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura A (1977) Social learning theory. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  7. Bijleveld CCJH (2007) Methoden en Technieken van Onderzoek in de Criminologie/druk 3 (Methods and Techniques for Research in Criminology/3rd edn). Boom Juridische Uitgevers, Den HaagGoogle Scholar
  8. Bijleveld CCJH, Wijkman M (2009) Intergenerational continuity in convictions: a five-generation study. Crim Behav Mental Health 19:142–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Black DS, Sussman S, Unger JB (2010) A further look at the intergenerational transmission of violence: witnessing interparental violence in emerging adulthood. J Interpers Violence 25:1022–1042CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blonigen DM, Hicks BM, Krueger RF, Patrick CJ, Iacono WG (2005) Psychopathic personality traits: heritability and genetic overlap with internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Psychol Med 35:637–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blumstein A, Cohen JM, Roth JA, Visher CA (1986) Criminal careers and “Career Criminals”. National Academy Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  12. Bouchard TJ (2004) Genetic influence on human psychological traits. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 13:148–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bouchard TJ, Loehlin JC (2001) Genes, evolution, and personality. Behav Genet 31:243–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bouffard LA, Wright KA, Muftic LR, Bouffard JA (2008) Gender differences in specialization in intimate partner violence: comparing the gender symmetry and violent resistance perspectives. Justice Q 25:570–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brennan PA, Raine A (1997) Biosocial bases of antisocial behavior: psychophysiological, neurological, and cognitive factors. Clin Psychol Rev 17:589–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Capaldi DM, Patterson GR (1996) Can violent offenders be distinguished from frequent offenders: prediction from childhood to adolescence. J Res Crime Delinquency 33:206–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Capaldi DM, DeGarmo D, Patterson GR, Forgatch M (2002) Contextual risk across the early life span and association with antisocial behavior. In: Reid JB, Patterson GR, Snyder J (eds) Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: a developmental analysis and model for intervention. American Psychological Association, Washington, pp 123–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Catalano RF, Hawkins JD (1996) The social development model: a theory of antisocial behavior. In: Hawkins JD (ed) Delinquency and crime: current theories. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 149–197Google Scholar
  19. Christiansen KO (1974) Seriousness of criminality and concordance among Danish twins. In: Hood R (ed) Crime, criminology, and public policy. Heinemann, London, pp 63–77Google Scholar
  20. Cohen JM (1986) Research on criminal careers: individual frequency rates and offense seriousness. In: Blumstein A, Cohen JM, Roth JA, Visher CA (eds) Criminal careers and “Career Criminals”, vol 2. National Academy Press, Washington, pp 292–418Google Scholar
  21. Conger RD, Neppl T, Jeong Kim K, Scaramella L (2003) Angry and aggressive behavior across three generations: a prospective, longitudinal study of parents and children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 31:143–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Crick NR, Dodge KA (1994) A review and reformulation of social information-processing mechanisms in children’s social adjustment. Psychol Bull 115:74–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cukier W, Chapdelaine A (2001) Small arms: a major public health hazard. Med Glob Surviv 7:26–32Google Scholar
  24. DiLalla LF (2002) Behavior genetics of aggression in children: review and future directions. Dev Rev 22:593–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DiLalla LF, Gottesman II (1991) Biological and genetic contributors to violence: Widom’s untold tale. Psychol Bull 109:125–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. D’Unger AV, Land KC, McCall PL, Nagin DS (1998) How many latent classes of delinquent/criminal careers? Results from mixed poisson regression analyses. Am J Sociol 103:1593–1630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Farrington DP (1991) Childhood aggression and adult violence: early precursors and later-life outcomes. In: Pepler DJ, Rubin KH (eds) The development and treatment of childhood aggression. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 5–29Google Scholar
  28. Farrington DP (1995) The development of offending and antisocial behaviour from childhood: key findings from the Cambridge study in delinquent development. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 36:929–964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Farrington DP (1997) Human development and criminal careers. In: Maguire M, Morgan R, Reiner R (eds) The oxford handbook of criminology, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 361–408Google Scholar
  30. Farrington DP (2001) Predicting adult official and self-reported violence. In: Pinard G-F, Pagani L (eds) Clinical assessment of dangerousness. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 66–88Google Scholar
  31. Farrington DP (2003a) Developmental and life-course criminology: key theoretical and empirical issues—the 2002 Sutherland award address. Criminology 41:221–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Farrington DP (2003b) Key results from the first forty years of the Cambridge study in delinquent. In: Thornberry TP, Krohn MD (eds) Taking stock of delinquency: an overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies. Kluwer, New York, pp 137–183Google Scholar
  33. Farrington DP (2007) Origins of violent behavior over the life span. In: Flannery DJ, Vazsonyi AT, Waldman ID (eds) The Cambridge handbook of violent behaviour and aggression. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 19–48Google Scholar
  34. Farrington DP (2011) Families and crime. In: Wilson JQ, Petersilia J (eds) Crime and public policy. Oxford University press, New York, pp 130–157Google Scholar
  35. Farrington DP, Welsh BC (2007) Saving children from a life of crime. Early risk factors and effective interventions. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  36. Farrington DP, West DJ (1990) The Cambridge study in delinquent development: a long-term follow-up of 411 London males. In: Kerner H.-J, Kaiser G (eds) Kriminalitat: Personlichkeit, Lebensgeschichte und Verhalten (Criminality: Personality, Life History and Criminal Behaviour). Springer, Berlin, pp 115–138Google Scholar
  37. Farrington DP, Gundry G, West DJ (1975) The familial transmission of criminality. Med Sci Law 15(3):177–186Google Scholar
  38. Farrington DP, Snyder HN, Finnegan TA (1988) Specialization in juvenile court careers. Criminology 26:461–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Farrington DP, Barnes GC, Lambert S (1996) The concentration of offending in families. Leg Criminol Psychol 1:47–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Farrington DP, Coid JW, Harnett L, Jolliffe D, Soteriou N, Turner R et al. (2006) Criminal Careers up to age 50 and life success up to age 48: new findings from the Cambridge study in delinquent development. Home Office (Home Office Research Study No. 299), LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Farrington DP, Coid JW, West DJ (2009) The development of offending from age 8 to age 50: recent findings from the Cambridge study in delinquent development. Monatsschrift fur Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform (Journal of Criminology and Penal Reform) (2/3): 160–173Google Scholar
  42. Felson RB (2009) Violence, crime, and violent crime. Int J Confl Violence 3:23–39Google Scholar
  43. Fisher G, Ross S (2006) Beggarman or thief: methodological issues in offender specialisation research. Aust NZ J Criminol 39:151–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Francis B, Soothill K, Fligelstone R (2004) Identifying patterns and pathways of offending behaviour: a new approach to typologies of crime. Eur J Criminol 1:47–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Gottfredson MR, Hirschi T (1990) A general theory of crime. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  46. Hanley JA, Negassa A, Edwardes MD, Forrester JE (2003) Statistical analysis of correlated data using generalized estimating equations: an orientation. Am J Epidemiol 157:364–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hearold S (1986) A synthesis of 1043 effects of television on social behavior. In: Comstock GA (ed) Public communication and behavior, vol 1. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 65–133Google Scholar
  48. Hirschi T, Gottfredson MR (1993) Commentary: testing the general theory of crime. J Res Crime Delinquency 30:47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Huesmann LR, Eron LD, Lefkowitz MM, Walder LO (1984) Stability of aggression over time and generations. Dev Psychol 20:1120–1134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kalidien SN, Eggen ATJ (2009) Criminaliteit en Rechtshandhaving 2008. Ontwikkelingen en Samenhangen (Crime and Law Enforcement 2008. Developments and Connections). Boom Juridische Uitgevers, Den HaagGoogle Scholar
  51. Kalmuss D (1984) The intergenerational transmission of marital aggression. J Marriage Fam 46:11–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kazdin AE (1997) Parent management training: evidence, outcomes, and issues. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:1349–1356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kazdin AE, Kraemer HC, Kessler RC, Kupfer DJ, Offord DR (1997) Contributions of risk-factor research to developmental psychopathology. Clin Psychol Rev 17:375–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kokko K, Pulkkinen L (2005) Stability of aggressive behavior from childhood to middle age in women and men. Aggress Behav 31:485–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kraemer HC, Kazdin AE, Offord DR, Kessler RC, Jensen PS, Kupfer DJ (1997) Coming to terms with the terms of risk. Arch Gen Psychiatry 54:337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kraemer HC, Stice E, Kazdin AE, Offord DR, Kupfer DJ (2001) How do risk factors work together? Mediators, moderators, and independent, overlapping, and proxy risk factors. Am J Psychiatry 158:848–856Google Scholar
  57. Lemert EM (1967) Human deviance, social problems, & social control. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  58. Liang K-Y, Zeger SL (1993) Regression analysis for correlated data. Annu Rev Public Health 14:43–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lipsitz SR, Laird NM, Harrington DP (1991) Generalized estimating equations for correlated binary data: using the odds ratio as a measure of association. Biometrika 78:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Loeber R (1988) Natural histories of conduct problems, delinquency, and associated substance use: evidence for developmental progressions. In: Lahey BB, Kazdin AE (eds) Advances in clinical child psychology. Plenum, New York, pp 73–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Loeber R, Farrington DP, Stouthamer-Loeber M, van Kammen WB (1998) Antisocial behavior and mental health problems: explanatory factors in childhood and adolescence. Lawrence Erlbaum, LondonGoogle Scholar
  62. Lösel F, Bliesener T, Bender D (2007) Social information processing, experiences of aggression in social contexts, and aggressive behavior in adolescents. Crim Justice Behav 34:330–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Maguire M (2007) Crime data and statistics. In: Maguire M, Morgan R, Reiner R (eds) The oxford handbook of criminology, 4th edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 241–301Google Scholar
  64. Mazerolle P, Brame R, Paternoster R, Piquero AR, Dean CW (2000) Onset age, persistence, and offending versatility: comparisons across gender. Criminology 38:1143–1172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. McCord J (1977) A comparative study of two generations of native Americans. In: Meier RF (ed) Theory in criminology. Contemporary views. Sage, Beverly Hills, pp 83–92Google Scholar
  66. McCord J (1988) Parental behavior in the cycle of aggression. Psychiatry 51(1):14–23Google Scholar
  67. McCutcheon AL (1987) Latent class analysis. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  68. McGloin JM, Sullivan CJ, Piquero AR (2009) Aggregating to versatility?: Transitions among offender types in the short term. British J Criminol 49:243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Mednick SA, Kandel E (1988) Genetic and perinatal factors in violence. In: Mednick SA, Moffitt TE (eds) Biological contributions to crime causation. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht, pp 121–134Google Scholar
  70. Muthén LK, Muthén BO (1998–2009) Mplus user’s guide (5th edn). Muthén & Muthén, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  71. Nylund KL, Asparouhov T, Muthén BO (2007) Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: a Monte Carlo simulation study. Struct Equ Model 14:535–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Olweus D (1979) Stability of aggressive reaction patterns in males: a review. Psychol Bull 86:852–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Osborn SG, West DJ (1979) Conviction records of fathers and sons compared. British J Criminol 19(2):120–133Google Scholar
  74. Osgood DW, Schreck CJ (2007) A new method for studying the extent, stability, and predictors of individual specialization in violence. Criminology 45:273–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Piquero AR (2000) Frequency, specialization, and violence in offending careers. J Res Crime Delinquency 37:392–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Piquero AR, Paternoster R, Mazerolle P, Brame R, Dean CW (1999) Onset age and offense specialization. J Res Crime Delinquency 36:275–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Piquero AR, Farrington DP, Blumstein A (2007) Key issues in criminal career research. New analyses of the Cambridge study in delinquent development. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Research Development and Statistics Directorate (1998) Offenders index codebook. Home Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  79. Sherman LW (1993) Defiance, deterrence, and irrelevance: a theory of the criminal sanction. J Res Crime Delinquency 30:445–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Simons RL, Wu C-i, Johnson C, Conger RD (1995) A test of various perspectives on the intergenerational transmission of domestic violence. Criminology 33:141–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Soothill K, Francis B, Fligelstone R (2002) Patterns of offending behaviour: a new approach. Home Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  82. Sullivan CJ, McGloin JM, Pratt TC, Piquero AR (2006) Rethinking the “norm” of offender generality: investigating specialization in the short term. Criminology 44:199–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sullivan CJ, McGloin JM, Ray JV, Caudy MS (2009) Detecting specialization in offending: comparing analytic approaches. J Quant Criminol 25:419–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Thornberry TP (2009) The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (or does it?): intergenerational patterns of antisocial behavior—the American society of criminology 2008 Sutherland address. Criminology 47:297–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tofighi D, Enders CK (2008) Identifying the correct number of classes in growth mixture models. In: Hancock GR, Samuelsen KM (eds) Advances in latent variable mixture models. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, pp 317–341Google Scholar
  86. US Department of Justice, B. o. J. S. (2010) National crime victimization survey 2007. from
  87. Walker A, Flatley J, Kershaw C, Moon D (2009) Crime in England and Wales 2008/2009. Home Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  88. West DJ (1969) Present conduct and future delinquency. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  89. West DJ (1982) Delinquency: its roots, careers and prospects. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  90. West DJ, Farrington DP (1973) Who becomes delinquent?. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  91. West DJ, Farrington DP (1977) The delinquent way of life. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  92. Wright KA, Pratt TC, Delisi M (2008) Examining offending specialization in a sample of male multiple homicide offenders. Homicide Stud 12:381–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Yang C (2006) Evaluating latent class analysis models in qualitative phenotype identification. Comput Stat Data Anal 50:1090–1104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zedner L (2002) Victims. In: Maguire M, Morgan R, Reiner R (eds) Oxford handbook of criminology, 3rd edn. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 419–456Google Scholar
  95. Zeger SL, Liang K-Y (1992) An overview of methods for the analysis of longitudinal data. Stat Med 11:1825–1839CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations