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Clinical Psychology Review 30 (2010) 89100

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Clinical Psychology Review

Explaining the relationship between age and crime: Contributions from the developmental literature on personality
Daniel M. Blonigen
Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University School of Medicine, USA

a r t i c l e

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a b s t r a c t
The robust link between age and crime has received considerable inquiry. However, the etiology of this association remains elusive. The present exposition provides a review of seminal theories on age and crime and discusses potential contributions from personality psychology in explaining this relationship. Specically, personality development is highlighted with emphasis on patterns of change in traits from late adolescence to early adulthood in order to address the misconception within the agecrime literature that personality is only relevant to stability in antisocial behavior over time. It is theorized that age-related declines in antisocial behavior reect normative change in key dimensions of personality. Findings from the developmental literature on personality are integrated with past biological and sociological perspectives on the agecrime curve to articulate a theory that emphasizes the co-development of personality and antisocial behavior from late adolescence to early adulthood. It is concluded that changes in personality undergird the development of antisocial behavior during this formative stage of the life-course and that personality development represents a viable theoretical framework for understanding the link between age and crime. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Article history: Received 17 February 2009 Received in revised form 12 August 2009 Accepted 2 October 2009 Keywords: Personality development Age Crime Antisocial behavior Emerging adulthood

Contents The agecrime curve: desistance in crime from late adolescence to early adulthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1. Early observations on the age distribution of crime at the aggregate level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2. Individual-level variability in the developmental course of criminality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Perspectives from criminology on the role of personality and individual differences in the relationship between age and crime . . . . 3. Incorporating personality development into the agecrime literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Trait models of personality: denition and structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Personality correlates of crime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Personality development: stability and change over the life-course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Mean-level change in personality from late adolescence to early adulthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Individual-level changes in personality: correspondence with developmental typologies of crime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. Gender differences in personality change from late adolescence to early adulthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. Mechanisms of change in the co-development of personality and crime: integrating the developmental literature on personality with past etiological theories of the agecrime curve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.1. Sociological mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.2. Biological mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. Future directions: untangling the co-development of personality and crime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.1. Latent growth models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2. Behavioral genetic methodology: capturing the covariation and interplay among etiologic factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12. Summary and conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 90 90 91 91 91 92 93 93 94 95 95 96 96 97 97 97 98 98 98

Veteran Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (152-MPD), 795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA. Tel.: +1 650 493 5000x27828; fax: +1 650 617 2736. E-mail address: bloni001@stanford.edu. 0272-7358/$ see front matter. Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.10.001

Unquestionably, crime and antisocial behavior exact a considerable toll on individuals as well as society more generally. In recognition of this, many scholars have attempted to delineate the causal factors in the initiation and development of antisocial behavior over

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the life-course. Emerging from this line of research is what Nagin and Land (1993) described as the most important empirical regularity in criminology (p. 331) the agecrime curve, which entails the observation that there is a sharp increase in the rate of crime and other deviant behaviors in mid-adolescence followed by an equally sharp decrease in these rates in early adulthood. With few exceptions, this trend has been consistently observed in both men and women, for most types of crimes, and across several nations and historical periods (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1983). Despite the ubiquity of this trend, the processes underlying this phenomenon are poorly understood. The aim of this essay is to review the empirical and theoretical literature on the agecrime link and discuss the contributions from the developmental literature on personality in explaining the normative trend of desistance in crime from late adolescence to early adulthood (i.e., emerging adulthood; Arnett, 2000). First, early observations of the agecrime curve are given including description of the aggregate (mean) and individual-level trends as well as discussion of the misconception within the criminological literature that personality traits are merely static risk factors that can only account for stability in antisocial behavior over time. Next, contemporary research and theory on the structure of normal personality are discussed, with particular emphasis on personality correlates of crime and their patterns of change from late adolescence to early adulthood. Specically, it is theorized that declines in antisocial behavior during this developmental stage reect normative changes in key dimensions of personality that have robust associations with criminality. Finally, these normative trends in personality are integrated with sociological and biological models of the agecrime curve to describe potential causal mechanisms that may account for the co-development of personality traits and antisocial behavior during this period. It is concluded that the principles of personality development represent a viable theoretical framework for understanding the course of crime and antisocial behavior during emerging adulthood. 1. The agecrime curve: desistance in crime from late adolescence to early adulthood The agecrime curve refers to the observation that when plotting aggregate rates of crime against age, there is a sharp increase in criminal activity in mid-adolescence followed by an equally sharp decline in these rates in early adulthood. The shape of this curve encompasses four components: (1) a rapid increase in mid-adolescence, (2) a peak in the curve in late adolescence, (3) a precipitous decline in early adulthood, and (4) a gradual, monotonic decline thereafter and throughout the lifecourse (see Fig. 1). Each of these components is integral to a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon. However, relative to other periods in the life-course, normative changes in personality are most prominent during the transition into adulthood (Roberts, Walton, & Viechtbauer, 2006). Thus, the present review is primarily focused on the third component involving desistance from criminal activity during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood a developmental epoch commonly referred to as emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000). This developmental stage, roughly covering the late teens through the 20s with a focus on ages 18 to 25, is a distinct period in the life-course marked by a host of demographic and psychological changes, identity exploration, and adoption of new social roles (e.g., starting a family, entering the workforce; Rindfuss, 1991; Shanahan, 2000). The turbulent nature of this period, as reected by the number of signicant and closely spaced life changes, provides an ideal developmental context in which to investigate the link between age and crime. 1.1. Early observations on the age distribution of crime at the aggregate level Initial observations of a strong association between age and crime can be traced back several centuries (Neison, 1857; Quetelet, 1831). In

Fig. 1. A graphical representation of the agecrime curve. Note. This graph of the age distribution of crime was reproduced from Moftt (1993; p. 675), which was originally presented by Blumenstein, Cohen and Farrington (1988) in Criminal Career Research: Its Value for Criminology Criminology (p. 11), and depicts arrest rates by age according to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

his seminal monograph, The English Convict, Goring (1913) provided a thorough statistical account of the agecrime distribution and was among the rst to assert that age represents an important etiological factor in crime. Importantly, Goring suggested that some process or covariate of age, rather than age itself, represents the causal factor in this relationship. Building on these early observations, Hirschi and Gottfredson (1983) provided data on the agecrime distribution from several Western nations spanning nearly 150 years and concluded that the distribution is invariant across an array of factors including time, place, demographics (e.g., gender, race), as well as offense type. Although many scholars have noted the robust nature of the aggregate curve, others have contended that important variations in the parameters of this distribution (e.g., modal and mean age, variance) do exist across socio-demographics and offense type (e.g., Greenberg, 1985; Laub, 1983; Steffensmeier & Allan, 1995). For example, Steffensmeier, Allan, Harer, and Streifel (1989) reported that the curve is somewhat atter for violent (person) offenses and declines more slowly in adulthood. While such ndings suggest that strict invariance in the parameters of the curve may be overstated, the shape or form of the age distribution of crime appears to be invariant. In an effort to reconcile prior research with the invariance position of Hirschi and Gottfredson (1983), Britt (1992) analyzed age-specic arrest data for the United Sates from 1952 to 1987. Although there was signicant variability in parameters of the age distribution of crime for offense type or cohort, a single class of mathematical functions was able to approximate the distribution across these conditions (i.e., mathematical form invariance). Hence, variations in parameters of the age distribution of crime do not belie the general form of the aggregate curve, which demonstrates that regardless of offense type or socio-cultural conditions, the mean level of crime begins to decline in early adulthood. 1.2. Individual-level variability in the developmental course of criminality Beyond the age distribution of crime in the aggregate, several longitudinal studies have noted substantial heterogeneity within and between individuals in their rate of offending over time. This observation of signicant individual-level variability has led some researchers to suggest the possibility of distinct developmental subtypes of offenders underlying the aggregate trend (Blumenstein, Cohen & Farrington, 1988; Farrington, 1986; Loeber & Le Blanc, 1990). For example, in a longitudinal study of male participants from ages 8 to 32, Nagin and Land (1993) reported evidence for four developmental

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subtypes: high-rate chronics, characterized by elevated rates of offending throughout adolescence and early adulthood; adolescence-limited offenders, whose offending history is largely conned to adolescence; low-rate chronics, marked by minimal, yet stable, rates of offending from adolescence through early adulthood; and nonoffenders, who exhibit virtually no antisocial behavior over time. With some variations, similar developmental subtypes have emerged in other investigations (e.g., Broidy et al., 2003; Nagin, Farrington, & Moftt, 1995; Patterson & Yoerger, 2002). Most notably, Moftt (1993) theorized the existence of two developmental subtypes in her taxonomy of antisocial individuals one comprising a small group of individuals marked by persistent antisocial behavior from childhood through adulthood (life-course persistent antisocials), the other encompassing a larger group of individuals who initiate their delinquent careers in mid-adolescence but desist in early adulthood (adolescence-limited antisocials) and resemble the normative course of antisocial behavior during this period. Interestingly, the life-course persistent trajectory is marked by higher rates of violent crime (Moftt, Caspi, Harrington, & Milne, 2002; Odgers et al., 2008) a nding consistent with the assertions of Steffensmeier et al. (1989) that the agecrime curve is somewhat atter for these types of offenses. Collectively, these studies highlight the signicant variability among individuals in criminal behavior over time and suggest that a viable personality-based model of the agecrime curve must account for the aggregate (mean-level) trend as well as the individual-level variability and putative developmental subtypes that have been theorized to underlie the aggregate curve. 2. Perspectives from criminology on the role of personality and individual differences in the relationship between age and crime Although largely focused on social factors, individual differences theories of criminal behavior have been proposed in the eld of criminology. Wilson and Herrnstein (1985) posited that crime is due to individual differences in impulsivity, poor conscience, conditionability, and other temperamental characteristics. Similarly, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) theorized that individual differences in offending reect the inuence of a single higher-order construct of low self-control. However, a critical assumption among these individual differences theories is that variation in one's criminal potential is established early in life and represents stable and enduring characteristics over the life-course. Consequently, most theorists including Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) and their model of criminal propensity dismiss personality traits as explanations for desistance in crime in early adulthood. To the extent that individual differences have been incorporated into theories on the relationship between age and crime, such constructs have been described as only able to account for stability in antisocial behavior over time (Nagin & Paternoster, 1993). That is, a large body of research has noted moderate to large testretest correlations in antisocial behavior from childhood through adulthood (Caspi & Moftt, 1995; Loeber, 1982; Olweus, 1979; Robins, 1966). This specic pattern of developmental continuity is referred to as rank-order stability in the sense that it involves the observation that, relative to one another, the most antisocial individuals in childhood tend to be the most antisocial individuals in adulthood. Moreover, this form of continuity may entail expression of either the same behaviors over time (homotypic stability) or conceptually similar manifestations of deviance (heterotypic stability; Caspi, Elder, & Bem, 1987). From a criminological perspective, these patterns of stability are believed to be a product of stable individual differences in the propensity to engage in criminal behavior as well as the cumulative and attenuating effect that such behavior may have on the social bonds linking individuals to society. In other words, these theories posit that time-invariant individual differences in a criminal propensity (e.g., low self-control) set forth a process by which commission of criminal

acts weakens bonds to social institutions and ensnares one in a lifestyle of crime such that opportunities for a prosocial lifestyle begin to diminish (Nagin & Paternoster, 2000). Moreover, such theories contend that turning points related to marriage, employment, and other critical life events occur independently of dispositional factors such that ostensibly stable individual differences cannot account for the normative desistance in crime in early adulthood (Laub & Sampson, 2003). Thus, the criminological view of traits is that they are largely static predictors of crime a misconception, however, and a critical obstacle to the incorporation of personality traits into theories of the age distribution of crime. 3. Incorporating personality development into the agecrime literature Several issues are revealed by the foregoing review on the relationship between age and crime from the criminological literature. First, there is a broad consensus that the general shape of the curve is ubiquitous across historical contexts, geography, offense type, and a host of socio-demographics. Second, there exists meaningful heterogeneity around the mean curve in the form of signicant individuallevel changes in the course of criminal behavior including the potential existence of developmental subtypes of antisocial individuals. Third, criminological theories have conceptualized personality and individual differences as xed attributes that are established early in life and cannot account for mean (aggregate) level changes in criminality over time. In the remaining sections, contemporary perspectives on the structure and development of normal personality are discussed along with a review of changes in personality traits that have been linked to criminal behavior. The principal theoretical position asserted is that personality traits are dynamic constructs that can account for both stability and change in crime and antisocial behavior over the lifespan. Specically, the normative decrease in crime during emerging adulthood reects a normative decrease in key personality dimensions such that changes in these constructs should be conceptualized within a theoretical framework that emphasizes their co-development during this period. These normative trends in personality will be integrated with past etiological theories of the agecrime curve from the criminological literature to specify potential causal mechanisms of this phenomenon including transactions between traits and various sociological and biological factors. It is suggested that the developmental literature on personality should be integrated with the criminological literature on the agecrime curve, and that personality development represents a viable theoretical framework for understanding the course of antisociality during emerging adulthood. 4. Trait models of personality: denition and structure In contrast with criminological approaches, the eld of psychology has typically examined crime and deviance through a lens of personality and individual differences. Contemporary psychological theories dene personality as an individual's characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving across situations and time (Kenrick & Funder, 1988). Moreover, such theories place emphasis on the concept of traits as inferred psychobiological structures that underlie a family of behavioral dispositions beyond their trait content (Meehl, 1986; Tellegen, 1991) and can predict health-risk behaviors (Bogg & Roberts, 2004; Caspi et al., 1997), mental disorders (e.g., antisocial personality disorder; Krueger, 2000), and a range of consequential outcomes (e.g., mortality, divorce, occupational attainment; Ozer & Benet-Martinez, 2006; Roberts, Kuncel, Shiner, Caspi, & Goldberg, 2007). From this standpoint, traits represent underlying causal entities that are inherently explanatory. Structurally, personality traits are organized in a hierarchy such that latent traits, inferred from correlations among observed indicators, covary themselves with

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other similar traits to form broad, high-order dimensions (for a review see Watson, Clark, & Harkness, 1994). This hierarchical structure represents a comprehensive assessment of individual differences in behavior as it affords both breadth of coverage (i.e., bandwidth) at a higher-order level of the trait hierarchy and detailed coverage (i.e., delity) via lower-order traits. Big Three and Big Five models represent the most well-validated structural models in the personality literature. Based on the work of Eysenck and Eysenck (1975), the Big Three model encompasses broad factors of Extraversion (vs. Introversion), Neuroticism (vs. Emotional Stability), and Psychoticism (a dimension of Disinhibition vs. Constraint). Tellegen and Waller (2008) proposed a similar threefactor model, operationalized via the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), which consists of broad factors of Positive Emotionality (PEM) a tendency to experience positive emotions resulting from achievement and engagement in one's environment; Negative Emotionality (NEM) a propensity to experience aversive emotional states related to anxiety, anger, and alienation; and Constraint (CON) a proclivity for being cautious and behaviorally restrained as reected in the avoidance of dangerous activities and adherence to social norms (for an alternative structural model of personality, see Cloninger, Svrakic, & Przybeck, 1993). Big Five models, developed from a lexical approach (John & Srivastava, 1999; Goldberg, 1982), are typically operationalized via the NEO-Personality Inventory (NEO-PI; Costa & McCrae, 1992) and consist of broad factors of Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to Experience. Extraversion captures a propensity towards sociability and agency, and is akin to the PEM factor from the MPQ. Neuroticism is analogous to aspects of MPQ-NEM that reect tendencies to worry or be easily upset. Conscientiousness is a dimension of impulse control and adherence to social norms; conceptually similar to MPQ-CON. Agreeableness taps trustworthiness and concern for others, and overlaps primarily with low Aggression and Alienation from MPQ-NEM along with some elements of MPQ-CON (Church, 1994; Tellegen & Waller, 2008). Openness to Experience, a domain of intellectual curiosity and interest in novel activities, is related to aspects of MPQ-PEM. Fig. 2 provides a graphical depiction of relations among the Big Three and Big Five models based on the work of Church (1994) and Markon, Krueger, and Watson (2005). Despite differing on the number of essential higher-order dimensions in the structure of personality, these models are largely congruent in their content coverage and

diverge primarily in terms of how they organize the factor space across different levels of the trait hierarchy (Church & Burke, 1994; Markon et al., 2005). In terms of contributing to the agecrime literature, structural models of personality possess several attributes that make it an appealing theoretical framework in which to conceptualize and investigate the relationship between age and crime. First, the hierarchical framework of structural models allows for an assessment of higher-order trait dimensions that may underlie changes in crime and antisocial behavior as well as specic (lower-order) traits and facets, which have greater predictive validity (Paunonen & Ashton, 2001; Reynolds & Clark, 2001). Second, both normal and abnormal personality can be subsumed under a single, unied framework with abnormal manifestations of personality representing extreme endpoints on dimensions of normal personality (Widiger & Costa, 1994). Hence, such models can account for maladaptive congurations of multiple traits associated with antisocial behavior (Miller, Lynam, Widiger, & Leukefeld, 2001). This perspective is distinct from the exclusively undimensional models of criminal propensity described in the criminological literature (cf. Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990). Third, structural models of personality have replicated across a range of populations (Digman, 1990) as well as cross-culturally (McCrae & Allik, 2002; McCrae, Costa, Del Pilar, Rolland, & Parker, 1998; Rolland, 2001) and thus offer a universal scheme for describing individuals' dispositions and behavioral tendencies. This attribute is particularly noteworthy given the ubiquity of the age distribution of crime across cultural and national boundaries. Finally, and perhaps most important, structural models of personality capture a rich nomological network in the sense that there is a large body of research on the development (Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000; Roberts, Walton, & Viechtbauer, 2006), heritability (Finkel & McGue, 1997; Loehlin, McCrae, Costa, & John, 1998; Tellegen et al., 1988), molecular genetics (Ebstein et al., 1996; Jang et al., 2001), and neurobiological correlates of traits (Corr et al., 1995; Lesch, 2003). The collective knowledge base from this burgeoning literature can be adopted and used as a theoretical context in which to conceptualize and investigate the development of antisocial behavior over the life-course. 5. Personality correlates of crime Beginning with the pioneering work of Eysenck (1977), Zuckerman (1989), and Cloninger (1987), psychology has long espoused

Fig. 2. A graphical depiction of relations among the Big Three and Big Five models of personality. Note. This illustration was modied and reproduced from Markon et al. (2005) and only includes relations among the higher-order factors of structural models of personality. The reader is referred to Bouchard and Loehlin (2001) for a comparison of the relations among these models at the lower-order (primary) scale level. In addition, see Church (1994) for empirical comparisons between the NEO-PI and MPQ. NEM = Negative Emotionality; CON = Constraint; PEM = Positive Emotionality; N = Neuroticism; A = Agreeableness; C = Conscientiousness; E = Extraversion; O = Openness to Experience; P = Psychoticism.

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trait-based theories on links between personality and crime. By contrast, criminology has not traditionally embraced the study of personality, with many critics expressing concerns over the measurement of traits, particularly issues of predictor-criterion overlap among indices of personality and crime (Tennenbaum, 1977). Within the last two decades, several scholars have endeavored to bridge the gap between criminology and psychology by addressing these criticisms and examining antisocial behavior within a structural framework of personality. With respect to Big Three models of personality, the MPQ prole of high NEM and low CON has been a robust predictor of crime and antisocial behavior across several large and independent studies (e.g., Elkins, Iacono, Doyle, & McGue, 1997; Krueger et al., 1994; Moftt, Krueger, Caspi, & Fagan, 2000). Consistent ndings have also emerged from Eysenck's Big Three model (Cale, 2006) as well as Big Five models (Miller & Lynam, 2001), which suggest that all personality dimensions with signicant associations with antisocial behavior reect elements of either low Agreeableness (a la high NEM) or low conscientiousness (a la low CON). Thus, traits connoting a heightened sensitivity to aversive emotional states (i.e., high NEM), an indifference towards others (i.e., low Agreeableness), and proclivities towards disinhibition (i.e., low CON, low Conscientiousness) are consistent predictors of criminality. A review of the trait-based literature on personality and crime reveals several other noteworthy ndings that address the criticisms from criminologists. First, associations between crime and traits of low CON/Conscientiousness and high NEM/disagreeableness have been shown to be robust across a range of socio-demographics (e.g., gender, race, nationality; Caspi et al., 1994; Moftt, Caspi, Silva, & StouthamerLoeber, 1995) and over different developmental periods including childhood (Raine, Reynolds, Venables, Mednick, & Farrington, 1998), adolescence (Lynam et al., 2000) and adulthood (Krueger et al., 1994). Second, these associations do not appear sensitive to the measurement of either personality or deviant behavior as comparable results have been obtained across different methods of assessment for both personality (e.g., self- and parent reports) and antisocial behavior (e.g., police contacts, court convictions, and other objective indices of crime). Furthermore, these relationships persist even after controlling for overlapping item content between indices of personality and deviance (Krueger et al., 1994). Third, in contrast with individual differences theories from criminology that focus exclusively on the construct of low self-control (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990), the ndings for high NEM and low Agreeableness suggest that there may be at least two distinct personological correlates of antisocial behavior. 6. Personality development: stability and change over the life-course Among both criminologists and psychologists, personality traits were traditionally conceptualized as stable and enduring constructs i.e., established early in life and becoming increasingly solidied throughout the lifespan (James, 1890/1981). However, current perspectives have redened these constructs as inherently developmental such that they evince both stability and change across the lifespan (Caspi, Roberts, & Shiner, 2005). The concept of change itself, however, is a multi-level process and is by no means mutually exclusive with the notion of stability over the course of development. Broadly, longitudinal studies of personality have examined three levels of change as a means of comprehensively assessing personality development over time: rank-order stability, mean-level change, and individual-level change.1
1 Ipsative continuity, denoting stability in the conguration of traits within individuals over time, and structural continuity, entailing stability in the correlational structure among traits over time, are additional indices of change but have received comparatively less attention within the developmental literature on personality.

Rank-order stability refers to consistency in the relative ordering of individuals in a population over time and is typically indexed via testretest correlations. In general, most personality measures have shown remarkable rank-order stability across a range of populations, measures, assessment procedures, and age-cohorts (Block, 1971; Carmichael & McGue, 1994; Conley, 1985; Costa & McCrae, 1988; Helson & Moane, 1987; Johnson, McGue, & Krueger, 2005; McGue, Bacon, & Lykken, 1993; Stein, Newcomb, & Bentler, 1986). In their meta-analysis of rank-order consistency in personality, Roberts and DelVecchio (2000) noted that regardless of the trait domain, test retest coefcients tended to increase with age, with average stability coefcients reaching .31 in early childhood and peaking at .74 in late adulthood (ages 50 to 70). For the periods of adolescence and early adulthood, these authors reported mean testretest coefcients of .43 and .54, respectively impressive gures considering the number of transitions and life changes that accompany emerging adulthood. However, these estimates are also far from unity and indicate that changes in personality also exist at the rank-order level. While ostensibly lending credence to the notion of personality as stable and enduring and thus irrelevant to the age distribution of crime, a key point that is often overlooked or neglected is that rankorder stability does not reect stability in an absolute sense. Rather, it indicates the degree to which individuals maintain their ordinal position within a population over time, and is thus distinct from mean-level change. For example, an individual who engages in delinquent acts once per week in adolescence and once per month in early adulthood has decreased, in an absolute sense, on his or her rate of deviance. However, this individual may still rank rst among his or her peers at both time points and would therefore be characterized as stable in a relative sense. As such, patterns of rank-order stability in personality traits are independent of mean-level changes. Consequently, rank-order stability of personality traits may not sufciently capture the role of personality development in the age distribution of crime at the aggregate (mean) level. 7. Mean-level change in personality from late adolescence to early adulthood A more comprehensive evaluation of the role of personality development in the age distribution of crime requires an examination of mean-level change, which refers to change in the quantity or level of some attribute or behavior over time and is commonly indexed at the group-level (for a review see Roberts et al., 2006). To the extent that the majority of individuals in a population change in the same direction, mean-level change reects normative alterations in the average amount of a trait in a population over time and may reect maturational or historical processes common to that population. Signicant mean-level change has been observed for several trait dimensions over the life-course. Notably, the greatest amount of change occurs during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood. Among the earliest studies of mean-level personality change during this period, Block (1971) reported declines in rebelliousness from high school to early adulthood for male participants from the Berkeley Longitudinal Studies, while Stein et al. (1986) reported increases in traits of law abidance, congeniality, diligence, generosity, and orderliness in a school-based sample of men and women followed from adolescence to young adulthood. A comparable pattern of mean-level change is observed from studies employing structural models of personality (i.e., Big Three and Big Five). Table 1 lists the effect sizes from these longitudinal investigations of personality development during the period of late adolescence to early adulthood. Although the effect sizes from this table are presented for broad (higher-order) trait constructs, the mean-level changes for each study (with the exception of Littleeld, Sher, & Wood, 2009) were based on change scores at the manifest trait level rather than the latent level. From a Big 5 perspective, Robins,

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Table 1 Mean-level change from longitudinal studies of personality development from late adolescence to early adulthood based on Big Three and Big Five models of personality. d-scores Studies McGue et al. (1993) Robins et al. (2001) Roberts et al. (2001) Vaidya et al. (2002) Donnellan et al. (2007) Blonigen et al. (2008) Vaidya et al. (2008) Littleeld et al. (2009) N 254 270 921 392 432 910 299 483 Measures MPQ NEO-PI MPQ NEO-PI; PANAS MPQ MPQ NEO-PI; PANAS EPQ Ages 2030 1822 1826 1821 1827 1724 1824 1829 NEM .48 .30 .95 .77 NA .41 .78 N .49 .05 .22 .53 A .44 .10 .26 CON .38 .24 .56 .52 .66 C .27 .51 .42

the most consistent predictors of criminal behavior. Echoing the sentiments of Adams (1997) and Roberts et al. (2001), these coincident developmental patterns suggest that age-related changes in crime in emerging adulthood may derive, in part, from normative changes in key facets of personality. Further support for this contention is also evident in the continual increase in Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and concomitant declines in Neuroticism throughout adulthood (Helson & Moane, 1987; Helson & Kwan, 2000; Roberts, Robins, Caspi, & Trzesniewski, 2003; Roberts et al., 2006), which in turn parallels the gradual decline in criminality throughout the life-course. In sum, the available evidence demonstrates that personality traits are not simply time-invariant phenomenon, but rather dynamic constructs that change with age and parallel changes in crime during emerging adulthood. Accordingly, a theoretical framework that highlights the co-development of personality and crime is necessary to properly conceptualize and investigate the age distribution of crime. 8. Individual-level changes in personality: correspondence with developmental typologies of crime Although patterns of mean-level change in personality correspond to the age distribution of crime in the aggregate, such group-level changes cannot account for variability across individuals in their trajectories of antisociality over time. Therefore, scholars in this area must venture beyond group analyses to investigate individual-level change in traits over time. Although intertwined with mean-level change, individual-level change represents a meaningful index as group analyses can potentially mask salient patterns of individual change that do not follow the normative trend. For example, within a population there may be a subgroup of individuals increasing signicantly on a given trait over time as well as a subgroup that is decreasing signicantly on this trait. In effect, these groups may cancel each other out resulting in relatively little mean-level change, yet substantial change at the individual-level. Within the developmental literature on personality, several longitudinal studies (Blonigen et al., 2008; Donnellan et al., 2007; Roberts et al., 2001; Robins et al., 2001; Vaidya et al., 2002) have measured individual-level change from late adolescence to early adulthood. Table 2 provides the ndings of individual-level change from these studies from late adolescence to early adulthood. These studies each utilized the Reliable Change Index (RCI; Christensen & Mendoza, 1986), which assesses whether the amount of change exhibited by a given individual on a trait is greater than what would be expected by chance. Across these studies, the percentage of individuals that exhibited a reliable increase or decrease on a trait was highly congruent with the mean-level trend. For example, the proportion of individuals increasing on measures of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness from late adolescence to early adulthood was larger than the proportion decreasing on these measures (Robins et al., 2001). However, a small, albeit signicant, proportion of individuals also exhibited reliable change on several personality dimensions that was opposite of the normative trend. For example, in the study by Roberts et al. (2001), although over 20% of the sample decreased on NEM from ages 18 to 26, 7% of the sample (a percentage exceeding the level expected by chance) nonetheless increased over this period. Similarly, Robins et al. (2001) reported that 6% of their sample decreased on Conscientiousness over a 4-year period, despite the normative increase in this trait at the mean level. Thus, much like the signicant variation in individual trajectories of offending that underlies the aggregate agecrime curve, there is signicant variation in personality development at the individual-level that does not conform to the normative trend. A more explicit link between individual-level changes in the course of personality and crime is illustrated via comparison of the developmental typologies that have emerged from these literatures.

Note. MPQ = Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire; NEO-PI = NEO-Personality Questionnaire; PANAS = Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale; EPQ = Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. NEM = Negative Emotionality, CON = Constraint; N = Neuroticism; NA = Negative Affect, A = Agreeableness; C = Conscientiousness. Effect sizes in bold are signicant at p < .05. The effect size for CON from Roberts et al. (2001) refers to the primary scale of Self-Control. The effect size for CON from Littleeld et al. (2009) refers to reverse-scored items from the EPQ (i.e., Psychoticism) and other indices of Disinhibition.

Fraley, Roberts, and Trzesniewski (2001) reported moderate to strong mean-level increases in Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and declines in Neuroticism in a sample of men and women at the beginning and end of college (see also Vaidya, Gray, Haig & Watson, 2002; Vaidya, Gray, Haig, Mroczek & Watson, 2008). From a Big 3 perspective, Littleeld et al. (2009) demonstrated large declines in Neuroticism and large increases in CON using the EPQ.2 Using the MPQ, Roberts, Caspi, and Moftt (2001) observed moderate meanlevel declines in NEM and its primary scale referents of Alienation and Aggression, and moderate increases in CON and its lower-order indicator of Self-Control from ages 18 to 26 in a representative birth cohort from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study (Silva & Stanton, 1996). Recently, Donnellan, Conger, and Burzette (2007) and Blonigen, Carlson, Hicks, Krueger and Iacono (2008) replicated these ndings with the MPQ in community samples from Iowa and Minnesota, respectively. Interestingly, these two studies reported mean-level changes nearly twice as large as the Dunedin sample, which Donnellan et al. (2007) speculated may be due to variation in the social contexts of the two samples (i.e., slower entrance into adult social roles for Dunedin participants; see Roberts et al., 2001). This difference in magnitude notwithstanding, there is clear congruence in the patterns of change in personality across a number of independent samples, which demonstrates moderate to large meanlevel declines in Neuroticism, NEM, and Disagreeableness, and moderate to large increases in traits related to Conscientiousness and SelfControl (a la CON) from late adolescence into early adulthood. This normative pattern was described long ago by Allport (1937) and suggests that the majority of individuals undergo extensive psychological growth during this formative developmental stage a pattern referred to as the maturity principle (Caspi et al., 2005). Most relevant to the present discussion is the fact that these developmental trends in personality mirror the normative desistance in crime over this period. Such parallels are striking given that the traits in question are
2 In the study by Littleeld et al. (2009), the CON dimension was measured as Impulsivity with items drawn from the EPQ and another three-factor personality measure. This scale was reverse-scored to provide consistency in the direction of change for this dimension relative to the other studies listed in Table 2.

D.M. Blonigen / Clinical Psychology Review 30 (2010) 89100 Table 2 Individual-level change from longitudinal studies of personality development from late adolescence to early adulthood based on Big Three and Big Five models of personality. NEM/N Studies Roberts et al. (2001) Robins et al. (2001) Vaidya et al. (2002) Donnellan et al. (2007) Blonigen et al. (2008) Measures MPQ NEO-PI NEO-PI MPQ MPQ Same + A Same + CON/C Same + 10% 13% 13% 34% 30%

95

21% 72% 23% 73% 10% 83% 47% 50% 50% 45%

7%

7% 78%

4% 2% 84% 7% 6% 84% 3% 5%

14% 6% 81% 9% 1% 86% 6% 61% 4% 66%

Note. , Same, and + refer to the percentage of individuals who decreased, remained the same, and increased on these traits, respectively, as indexed via the Reliable Change Index. If change were due to chance alone, the expected distribution would be 2.5% decreasing, 95% staying the same, and 2.5% increasing. MPQ = Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire; NEO-PI = NEO-Personality Inventory; NEM = Negative Emotionality, CON = Constraint; N = Neuroticism; A = Agreeableness; C = Conscientiousness. Percentages in bold highlight the direction of the greatest individual-level change in these traits.

troubled group from Johnson et al. (2007), these individuals are comparable to Moftt's (1993) life-course persistent antisocials yet also declined in criminal activity in adulthood. This pattern of delayed maturation resembles the life-course persistent antisocial trajectory, which (relative to the adolescent-limited trajectory) is characterized by a higher rate of violent crime (Odgers et al., 2008). Together, these patterns are consistent with the observation of Steffensmeier et al. (1989) of a slower rate of decline in person (i.e., violent) offenses in early adulthood, suggesting that maladaptive developmental personality types may account for the age distribution of violent criminal offenses. Although somewhat speculative, the general conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that developmental changes in personality traits correspond to not only mean-level changes in criminal behavior in emerging adulthood but also signicant individual-level changes and developmental typologies that have been theorized to underlie the age crime curve in the aggregate. 9. Gender differences in personality change from late adolescence to early adulthood Mean gender differences in antisociality (i.e., higher rates of crime and other forms of externalizing behavior for men than women) typically begin in mid-adolescence and persist into early adulthood (Moftt, Caspi, Rutter, & Silva, 2001). However, evidence from both the criminological (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1983) and psychological literatures (Hicks et al., 2007) suggests that men and women display largely similar patterns of mean-level change in antisocial behavior from late adolescence to early adulthood. A similar pattern is evident in the personality literature. That is, men tend to be higher on NEM (specically the primary scales of Aggression and Alienation) and lower on CON in both late adolescence and early adulthood (Blonigen et al., 2008; Roberts et al., 2001); however, gender does not typically moderate mean-level changes in these traits over this period (Roberts et al., 2006; Robins et al., 2001). Signicant interactions between gender and time have emerged, however, in a few studies of personality development during emerging adulthood. The most consistent ndings have been observed for CON and its primary scales of Control and Harm Avoidance in the form of greater increases in these traits over time for women than men (Blonigen et al., 2008; Donnellan et al., 2007; Roberts et al., 2001). Nevertheless, the effect sizes for these interactions are quite small. Moreover, as with the age distribution of crime across gender, there is clear convergence in the general pattern of decline in CON across men and women in all studies of personality development during this period. In other words, while men tend to engage in more externalizing behaviors and are generally more disinhibited, aggressive, and alienated than women in late adolescence and early adulthood, such differences do not translate into substantial gender differences in the developmental course of crime or personality over this period. Thus, gender differences appear to play a minimal role in the present discussion regarding personality change. 10. Mechanisms of change in the co-development of personality and crime: integrating the developmental literature on personality with past etiological theories of the agecrime curve In the present review, it is theorized that changes in antisocial behavior from late adolescence to early adulthood are underpinned by normative changes in dimensions of personality that reect a liability towards criminality. It is important to note, however, that this position does not necessarily imply that changes in personality have a direct (causal) impact on the normative pattern of desistance in crime during this period. Rather, it is simply meant to draw attention to the co-development of personality and crime during the turbulent period of emerging adulthood. Nevertheless, it is important to theorize about possible third-variable mechanisms that may contribute to change in

Typologies are person-centered approaches involving the classication of individuals into subtypes based on their distinct proles across multiple traits or behaviors. In a longitudinal design, typologies allow for an examination of variation between individuals in change over time and are useful for capturing developmental trajectories that deviate from the normative trend. Block (1971) was among the rst to propose a developmental typology of personality. Utilizing Q-sort ratings on men and women from adolescence (ages 1417) to adulthood (ages 3037), he derived ve personality types, two of which resemble well-validated developmental types of criminal offenders. Belated-Adjusters were dened as a group high on traits of hostility and negativistic attitudes in adolescence but decreasing on these traits as they entered adulthood a pattern of maturation consistent with the normative desistance in antisocial behavior over this period. In contrast, Unsettled Undercontrollers evinced a high degree of rebelliousness and hostility that was stable from adolescence to adulthood analogous to a subgroup of individuals who persist rather than desist in their antisocial behavior into adulthood. Several recent studies have provided more direct tests of the link between developmental typologies of personality and antisocial behavior. In a population-based sample of girls ages 14 to 24, Johnson, Hicks, McGue and Iacono (2007) used growth mixture modeling of MPQ primary scales related to NEM and CON to identify three trajectory groups. The rst two groups, labeled alright and growing up, generally exhibited normative decreases in NEM and increases in CON, whereas the troubled group was largely characterized by continuity in these traits and was highest among all groups in adult antisocial behavior and substance use. In a longitudinal cluster analysis of personality measures whose trait structures resembled the MPQ (i.e., Disinhibition, NEM, Extraversion/PEM), Morizot and Le Blanc (2005) derived four developmental subtypes of personality from ages 14 to 40. Communals and agentics both exhibited normative maturation in personality as reected by declines in Disinhibition and NEM and decreased substantially in their criminal activity in early adulthood akin to an adolescence-limited antisocial trajectory (cf. Moftt, 1993). Overcontrollers increased in NEM and decreased in Disinhibition from adolescence to adulthood and increased in their antisociality over emerging adulthood analogous to late-onset antisocial trajectories from the criminological literature (Tweed et al., 1994). Undercontrollers were marked by high scores on Disinhibition and NEM in adolescence and exhibited the highest rates of antisocial behavior in both late adolescence and early adulthood among all developmental subtypes. Similar to Block's undercontrollers and the

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both personality traits and crime during this period. The following section integrates the developmental literature on personality with past etiological theories of the agecrime curve and, in turn, seeks to provide a more nuanced theoretical framework for understanding how various sociological and biological mechanisms may explain the age distribution of crime. 10.1. Sociological mechanisms Sociological explanations have attained substantial footing among etiological theories of the agecrime curve. At the forefront of these perspectives are social control theories, which posit that crime and deviance are more likely when an individual's bond to society is tenuous. Sampson and Laub's (1993) age-graded theory of social control is among the more well validated of these theories (see also Elder, 1985; Greenberg, 1985). These authors argue that informal social controls deriving from investments in social institutions (e.g., family, education, work) modify pathways to criminal behavior independent of one's delinquent background such that transitions into age-graded social roles underlie desistance in crime in early adulthood. In their re-analysis of Glueck and Glueck's (1968) classic longitudinal study of 500 delinquent and 500 non-delinquent males, marriage and employment were found to predict desistance from criminal activity even after controlling for individual differences in criminal propensity (e.g., IQ, personality). Moreover, it has been suggested that the quality or strength of these bonds (e.g., a good marriage) rather than the timing of the event itself is the key factor in the association between social bonds and desistance (Laub & Sampson, 2003). These processes from social control theory have also been found to have a substantial impact on personality development throughout the life-course. Universal life tasks that accompany emerging adulthood (e.g., marriage, careers) carry with them a range of environmental contingencies that can shape personality functioning (Caspi & Roberts, 2001; Roberts & Jackson, 2008). Specically, the social roles associated with these life tasks involve a press from the environment and call for individuals to modify their behavior in a way that may contrast with how they typically act. Such contingencies may be explicit in the form of concrete feedback regarding one's behavior, particularly in new social roles (Stryker & Statham, 1985), or implicit in the form of expectations that accompany these roles (e.g., expectations of an employee to be diligent and conscientious). Notably, these mechanisms are particularly active from late adolescence to early adulthood given that identity explorations, with respect to love and work, are so prominent during this developmental period (Arnett, 2000; Roberts & Caspi, 2003). Although the mechanisms and processes from social control theories are not novel among developmental and personality scholars, their specic application as third-variable explanations for the codevelopment of personality and antisocial behavior during emerging adulthood has not been explicitly articulated. Furthermore, as a consequence of the misconception that traits are time-invariant constructs, the notion of a reciprocal relationship between traits and social roles has not been acknowledged in past etiological theories of the agecrime curve from the criminological literature. However, when addressing this issue within the context of the developmental literature on personality, a transactional relationship between traits and social roles is revealed. For example, work experiences related to job satisfaction and mobility have been found to increase autonomy over time, while measures of occupational success have been associated with increases in traits of Dominance, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability (Elder, 1969; Mortimer & Lorence, 1979; Roberts, 1997). A critical nding from this research is the observation that the traits that change the most in relation to work experiences are the traits that are most predictive of these outcomes (Roberts, Caspi, & Moftt, 2003). In other words, self-selection and social inuence are

corresponsive in their effect on personality such that social roles serve to accentuate features of an individual's personality that were already present. Importantly, this process is not likely to be random but may instead reect a niche-picking process in which individuals choose roles consistent with their personality make-up (Scarr & McCartney, 1983). A similar corresponsive process may also be at play in the association between relationship quality, transitions in partnership, and personality (Neyer & Asendorpf, 2001; Roberts & Chapman, 2000; Robins, Caspi, & Moftt, 2002) and highlights the notion that personality traits change within interpersonal contexts. 10.2. Biological mechanisms The relative invariance of the age distribution of crime across an array of social and historical contexts has been interpreted by some as evidence for a biological process underlying the relationship between age and crime (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1983). Changes in physical prowess, which increase during adolescence and decline throughout the course of adulthood, is one such perspective (Gove, 1985). Hormonal changes such as increases in testosterone levels have also received attention given the link between testosterone and antisocial behavior among both adolescent (Olweus, Mattsson, Schalling, & Low, 1980) and adult males (Dabbs & Morris, 1990). Most recently, Kanazawa (2003) contended that uctuating levels of testosterone, which decrease when men get married and have children, represent the biochemical foundation for patterns of desistance in crime in early adulthood. Although these biological perspectives are intriguing given their potential to account for the ubiquity of the agecrime link, they do not account for the invariance of the agecrime curve across gender, and are incompatible with the general shape of the curve as physical tness and testosterone levels do not peak until the late 20s and remain at or near their peak levels until mid-life (Bassey, 1997; Sternbach, 1998). One potential biological mechanism that has received comparatively less attention in past theories of the agecrime curve is the extensive neurological change that accompanies the transition from late adolescence to adulthood. Neurobiological maturation is highly characteristic of the developing adolescent brain and corresponds conceptually and temporally to age-related declines in personality and crime. A review by Collins (2004) noted that excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters associated with antisocial behavior in animals and humans (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine) exhibit linear age-related declines over the life-course. Moreover, these neurotransmitters have been linked to impulsivity, aggression, and other personality correlates of antisocial behavior throughout development (Coccaro & McNamee, 1998; Manuck et al., 1998; Siever & Trestman, 1993). Thus, it is conceivable that changes in neurochemistry underlie normative changes in personality, which in turn may facilitate desistance from crime in early adulthood. Structural maturation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) represents another plausible biological mechanism that may account for the correlated changes in personality and antisocial behavior during this developmental stage. Multiple regions of the PFC have been linked to antisocial and aggressive behavior across different periods in the lifecourse (Ishikawa & Raine, 2003). In terms of development, converging evidence from fMRI, electrophysiological, neuropsychological, and biochemical studies reveal that the orbital, ventromedial, and dorsolateral subdivisions of the PFC do not reach structural maturity until early adulthood (Casey, Giedd, & Thomas, 2000; Giedd et al., 1999; Segalowitz & Davies, 2004; Sowell, Thompson, Holmes, Jernigan, & Toga, 1999; Webster, Weickert, Herman, & Kleinman, 2002). Notably, some scholars have postulated that these regions represent putative neurobiological correlates of disinhibitory forms of psychopathology (e.g., antisocial behavior, substance use; Blair, 2004) as well as several higher-order functions embodied by trait constructs of CON (e.g., cognitive control, decision-making, behavioral inhibition; Berlin,

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Rolls, & Kischka, 2004; Hooper, Luciana, Conklin, & Yarger, 2004; Miller & Cohen, 2001; Spinella, 2004). Thus, normative declines in disinhibitory personality traits related to CON may be partly mediated by neurodevelopment and maturation of the PFC. With regard to NEM, trait indicators of this dimension (e.g., anxiety, aggression) have been tied more directly to subcortical (limbic) structures such as the amygdala (Davis, 1998), which have been found to develop considerably earlier than the PFC (i.e., pre-adolescence; Le Doux, 1995). However, the PFC is integral to emotion regulation (Ochsner & Gross, 2007) and may exert top-down control of subcortical substrates linked to NEM and antisocial behavior (Davidson, Putnam, & Larson, 2000). From this perspective, it is plausible that normative declines in NEM in the form of greater affect regulation are also mediated by maturation of the PFC during early adulthood. Although these hypotheses are plausible, it must be kept in mind that brainbehavior relationships are complex and multifaceted and likely entail an interactive process that encompasses other factors such as hormonal and neurochemical changes. Nonetheless, a direct comparison of changes in neurobiology, personality, and antisocial behavior within the same design would provide a compelling test of whether maturation of the PFC during emerging adulthood is a possible thirdvariable explanation for the co-development of personality and crime over this period. 11. Future directions: untangling the co-development of personality and crime The present review has highlighted the dynamic nature of personality constructs and argued that the agecrime curve, particularly the normative trend of desistance in crime during emerging adulthood, reects a normative decrease in key personality traits, suggesting that changes in these constructs should be conceptualized within a theoretical framework that emphasizes their co-development during this critical stage of the life-course. While the parallels in the developmental trends of these constructs are striking, more research is needed to untangle their intertwined trajectories. In particular, it is suggested that future studies should (a) employ analytic procedures that jointly test the strength of the co-development of personality traits and indices of antisocial behavior over time and incorporate third-variable explanations that may mediate these co-developmental patterns (i.e., biological and sociological mechanisms), and (b) use genetically-informative data to disentangle transactions between personality traits and socio-contextual factors in order to better understand the interplay between genes and environments in the etiology of antisociality. 11.1. Latent growth models A principal shortcoming of many prospective studies on the relationship between age and crime has been the failure to concurrently assess antisocial behavior and relevant personality correlates within the same design. More important, such studies have typically neglected to assess personality change thus failing to conceptualize traits as dynamic predictors or correlates of change in antisocial behavior (but see Morizot & Le Blanc, 2005). Rather, studies exploring relations between antisocial behavior and individual differences in personality have been mostly limited to cross-sectional analyses or modeled traits as static predictors of future antisocial behavior. An adequate assessment of the present theory calls for multiple assessments of antisocial behavior and personality traits within the same study in order to directly test whether the developmental trajectories of these constructs are interrelated. Latent growth models (LGMs; Bollen & Curran, 2006) represent an analytic approach that is uniquely suited to address these questions (see Vaidya et al., 2008). Using random effects models conceptualized as continuous latent intercepts and growth factors, LGMs allow for an

assessment of individuals over time on multiple outcomes of interest and require at least three time points of data. Such models have a number of advantages including the ability to model non-linear patterns of change in personality and crime as well as model patterns of missing data. Moreover, LGMs entail a multi-level analysis at both the population and individual levels and are, therefore, well suited to the investigation of aggregate and individual-level changes in personality and antisocial behavior over time. Curran et al. reviewed the application of LGMs to the study of developmental psychopathology (Curran & Hussong, 2003; Curran & Willoughby, 2003). These authors specied a Fully Multivariate LGM that involves estimation of latent trajectories for two variables over time and examines the covariation of their slope factors, which reects the extent to which the variables change together over time. Notably, a variation of this model termed the Autoregressive LGM is similar to the Fully Multivariate model but allows for bidirectional relations between two variables at each time point. Such a model, particularly in a crosslagged design, would permit investigation of the temporal precedent among changes in personality, criminal behavior, and putative thirdvariable mechanisms across time (e.g., relationships; Neyer & Asendorpf, 2001). Recently, Littleeld et al. (2009) utilized the analytic framework of LGMs to examine the degree of correlated change in personality traits (i.e., Neuroticism, Impulsivity) and problematic alcohol use a highly comorbid condition of antisocial behavior (Krueger et al., 2002). Results indicated that both normative and individual-level changes in alcohol use occurred between ages 18 and 35, and that these changes covaried with changes in Neuroticism and Impulsivity. In addition, these authors modied the LGM framework to include intervening variables of marital and parental role statuses to test third-variable explanations of the associated changes in problematic alcohol use and personality. Interestingly, in this investigation, marital and parental role statuses did not account for the correlated change in these constructs. Nevertheless, as suggested by Littleeld et al. (2009), the quality or satisfaction in these social roles, as opposed to role status itself, may be a more tenable third-variable explanation of the codevelopment of personality and externalizing behaviors from late adolescence to early adulthood. 11.2. Behavioral genetic methodology: capturing the covariation and interplay among etiologic factors A key component in the theoretical framework of this review is the notion that traits and social factors have a reciprocal corresponsive relationship in their development over time. Given the possibility of social roles as third-variable explanations of the co-development of personality and crime, models that systematically examine the covariation and interplay over time among these constructs offer the potential for greater clarity on the causal relations among personality traits, crime, and socio-contextual processes. There are considerable advantages to investigating the developmental relations between personality traits, antisocial behavior, and socio-contextual variables from a biometric framework. In longitudinal designs, such studies can yield estimates of the relative inuence of genetic and environmental factors to variance in the trajectories of a specic phenotype over time. More important, within the framework of multivariate models that estimate latent trajectories for traits, antisocial behavior, and other relevant socio-contextual variables, biometric designs afford an assessment of whether genetic and environmental variance to stability and change in these trajectories is correlated between the phenotypes. Among the longitudinal-behavior genetic studies in the literature, only a few have explored genetic and environmental contributions to stability and change in either antisocial behavior (Malone, Taylor, Marmorstein, McGue, & Iacono, 2004) or personality (Blonigen et al., 2008; Dworkin, Burke, Maher, & Gottesman, 1976; McGue et al., 1993) during the formative transition

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into emerging adulthood, and none has explicitly tested transactions between traits and either socio-contextual phenotypes or crime in this developmental framework. Recent advances in behavioral genetic methodology offer a promising avenue for disentangling the etiological relations among these constructs by testing for both geneenvironment interactions (G E) and geneenvironment correlations (rGE) within the same model (Purcell, 2002). G E entails the notion that the impact of an individual's genotype is contingent upon (or moderated by) certain aspects of the environment. G E exists in many forms (for a review, see Rutter, Moftt, & Caspi, 2006). In quantitative forms of G E (i.e., biometric moderation), the heritability of a given trait varies according to level of exposure to an environmental variable known to have an impact on that trait. With regard to rGE, genes and environments are theorized to correlate in systematic ways such that individuals may actively seek out, create, or be passively exposed to environments that are consistent with their genetic endowments. Evidence for rGE has been noted in several twin and adoption studies that observed putative measures of the environment to contain signicant genetic variance when treated as phenotypes in a biometric analysis (e.g., Plomin & Bergeman, 1991). Recently, Johnson (2007) reviewed the utility of this model termed the Full Quantitative GeneEnvironment Interplay Model to articulate and test transactions between antisocial behavior and social forces by modeling both G E and rGE. Such a model offers a powerful means of disentangling genetic and environmental contributions to the corresponsive relationship between personality traits and putative socio-contextual variables (e.g., marriage, parenthood), and offers an appealing analytic framework in which to study the co-development of personality and crime during emerging adulthood. 12. Summary and conclusions The aim of this review was to integrate past etiological perspectives on the agecrime distribution with contemporary ndings from the developmental literature on personality. The position advanced here is that the agecrime curve, specically the component of desistance from late adolescence to early adulthood, derives from normative maturation in personality traits linked to antisocial behavior, and that changes in these constructs should be conceptualized within a theoretical framework that emphasizes their co-development during this critical stage in the life-course. Such a dynamic perspective of personality clearly contradicts traditional conceptions of traits as simply time-invariant constructs that are merely applicable to stability in crime and other forms of deviance. Although this theoretical framework does not speak directly to the causal associations among changes in personality and crime, the developmental model offers a more nuanced understanding of how various biological and sociological mechanisms may account for the co-development of personality and antisociality. From a biological standpoint, the present theory highlights the dearth of research on neurobiological maturation in regulatory systems such as the PFC as a potential third-variable explanation of correlated changes in personality and antisocial behavior during emerging adulthood. Furthermore, integration of the developmental literature of personality within the agecrime curve literature helps to advance transactional perspectives of the agecrime link by highlighting that personality traits may operate in a corresponsive manner with age-graded social roles. Finally, beyond its potential to elucidate these causal mechanisms, the present personality-based perspective on the relationship between age and crime places this phenomenon within the large and well-validated nomological network of structural models of personality. This contribution notwithstanding, the present theory is not intended to suggest that personality development can wholly account for the relationship between age and crime, as it is likely that the etiology of this phenomenon is multifactorial. Moreover, it must be

acknowledged that the evidence for correlated changes in personality and crime during emerging adulthood is largely indirect and requires considerably more research and direct investigation. Nonetheless, the available evidence suggests that normative changes in personality may play a signicant role in desistance from crime and antisocial behavior during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood. Hence, personality development represents a useful heuristic and viable theoretical framework in which to conceptualize the robust link between age and crime.

Acknowledgments Special thanks to William G. Iacono, Brian M. Hicks, Robert F. Krueger, and Christopher J. Patrick for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this work, and to M. Brent Donnellan for his input on the revision.

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