University of Oulu

Solomon, S.J., Savolainen, J., Mason, W.A. et al. J Dev Life Course Criminology (2017) 3: 326.

Does educational marginalization mediate the path from childhood cumulative risk to criminal offending?

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Author: Solomon, Starr J.1; Savolainen, Jukka2; Mason, W. Alex3;
Organizations: 1School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska
2Institute for Social Research, ICPSR, University of Michigan
3Boys Town National Research Institute for Child and Family Studies
4Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
5Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital
6Department of Psychiatry, Unit for Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oulu
7Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina
8Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College, London
9Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu
10Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-06-27


Purpose: Early exposure to multiple risk factors is known to predict involvement in criminal offending. The purpose of this study was to examine the processes responsible for this association. Specifically, the focus was on the capacity of adolescent educational experience to mediate the effect of childhood cumulative risk (CCR) on criminal offending, net of expected continuity in antisocial propensity, and behavior.

Methods: Data from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort Study 1986 (n = 5743) were used to estimate a structural equation model to examine the hypothesized pathways. The educational pathway was captured by a latent variable (educational marginalization) consisting of indicators of low academic performance, weak school attachment, and low educational aspirations.

Results: CCR had a strong positive relation with educational marginalization, which, in turn, emerged as a statistically significant predictor of having criminal record by age 19. Although continuity in antisocial behavior accounted for most of the total effect of CCR on criminal offending, one-third of it was mediated by educational marginalization.

Conclusions: The results highlight the adolescent educational experience as a promising target of intervention in efforts to curb criminal careers among children at risk.

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Series: Journal of developmental and life-course criminology
ISSN: 2199-4641
ISSN-E: 2199-465X
ISSN-L: 2199-4641
Volume: 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 326 - 346
DOI: 10.1007/s40865-017-0062-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Copyright information: © Springer International Publishing AG 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology. The final authenticated version is available online at: