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Upbringing can heavily influence our behaviour in later life. For example:

  • If someone is brought up in a solid family environment where they are encouraged to be successful, they are more likely to do well because of the encouragement they recieved
  • If someone is brought up in an unstable or negative environment, they may turn to criminal behaviour as they had not received the encouragement those in the opposite situation received

Factors such as life events, parental guidance and popularity all have an influence on this.



  • Aim: to look at the influence of life events and risk/protective factors in predicting criminal behaviour
  • Participants and method: Longitudinal study, interviewing 411 white 8-9 year old boys from state schools in east London in the 1950s
  • Selected findings: 
    • At the age of 48, 161 participants had criminal convictions
    • Peak age for commiting crime was 17
    • 93% of participants had at least one criminal conviction
    • Most of the chronic offenders shared childhood characteristics, such as a convicted parent, low popularity, disrupted family or a young mother
  • Conclusion: Offenders tended to be deviant in many areas of life, and the most important risk factors for criminality in the family were poor child-rearing, impulsiveness and poverty


Early intervention schemes can be developed for those affected by risk factors. For example:

  • Those who have a convicted parent can be taught not to follow their lead 
  • Those who are 'unpopular' can be encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, e.g drama to improve their confidence

Young mothers who are struggling with parenting could also be encouraged to spend more time with their children or take parenting classes to provide a positive example and so reduce crime rates.

Wilkstrom and Tafel

  • Aim: to investigate why young people offend
  • Method and participants: A cross sectional study involving interviews and data from official records on approx. 2000 14-15 year olds.
  • Findings: 
    • 44.8% of males and 30.6% of females had commited at least one crime during the year 2000
    • 9.8% of males and 3.8% of females have…


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