Brief overview on the study by Farrington.

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Aim: To investigate the inflence of life events and how anti- social and offending behaviour can be due to the inflence of family.

Method and participants: longitudinal study over 40 years with interviews (self-reports). 411 boyrs aged 8 - 9 from the East End of London taken from the registers of 6 State schools. Mainly from a white working class.

Procedure: Boys were interviewed and tested at school and in their own homes. Parents and school teachers were also asked about the boys. The study concluded with 93% of the study being finally intervied at the age of 48.

Results:  He found that offences peaked around the age of 17. Those who started criminal careers early were nearly all reconvicted and committed average 9 crimes. 7% of these early offenders were defined as chronic offenders(persistors), and accounted for 50% of the crime in the study. Most of the chronic offenders shared childhood characteristics (risk factors), for example,  a convicted parent, delinquent sibling, young mother. By the time the boys reached 48years old, 88% had given up on crime.

Conclusion: crime runs in families and starts early. Therefore help programmes should begin with young children and young parents should recieve help. 

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Farrington: Issues

Ethical Issues

The study started when the boys were only 8-9 years old meaning they could be too young to give informed consent.

The study was very long and could cause harm and distress (psychological harm) on them if they have to recall their past behaviours and their upbringings.


Provides valid and effective suggestions to minimise and prevent criminal behaviour by adressing social influences,for example, help programmes.


Usefullness - study showed how upbringing. This has implications to the government in their choices to improve re-offending rates.

Nurture - this study supports the nurture debate because it says that upbringing, so the environment, its the primary cause for turning to crime. It ignores biological exmplanations (nature side of the debate). 

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