Motherhood and criminal desistance in disadvantaged neighborhoods

Derek A. Kreager, Ross L. Matsueda, Elena A. Erosheva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evidence from several qualitative studies has suggested that the transition to motherhood has strong inhibitory effects on the delinquency and drug use trajectories of poor women. Quantitative studies, however, typically have failed to find significant parenthood or motherhood effects. We argue that the latter research typically has not examined motherhood in disadvantaged settings or applied the appropriate statistical method. Focusing on within-individual change, we test the motherhood hypothesis using data from a 10-year longitudinal study of more than 500 women living in disadvantaged Denver communities. We find that the transition to motherhood is associated significantly with reductions in delinquency, marijuana, and alcohol behaviors. Moreover, we find that the effect of motherhood is larger than that of marriage for all outcomes. These results support the qualitative findings and suggest that the transition to motherhood-and not marriage-is the primary turning point for disadvantaged women to exit delinquent and drug-using trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-258
Number of pages38
JournalCriminology
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

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Vulnerable Populations
motherhood
Marriage
Cannabis
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Longitudinal Studies
delinquency
Alcohols
marriage
Research
parenthood
statistical method
drug use
longitudinal study
alcohol
drug
community
evidence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

Kreager, Derek A. ; Matsueda, Ross L. ; Erosheva, Elena A. / Motherhood and criminal desistance in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In: Criminology. 2010 ; Vol. 48, No. 1. pp. 221-258.
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Motherhood and criminal desistance in disadvantaged neighborhoods. / Kreager, Derek A.; Matsueda, Ross L.; Erosheva, Elena A.

In: Criminology, Vol. 48, No. 1, 01.02.2010, p. 221-258.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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