Changes in Illegal Behavior During Emerging Adulthood

  • Badiah Haffejee University of Denver
  • Jamie Rae Yoder University of Denver
  • Kimberly Bender University of Denver
Keywords: Desistance, emerging adults, illegal behavior, college students, substance use

Abstract

Emerging adulthood marks a critical developmental juncture during which some individuals disengage from the illegal behavior of their adolescence while others continue to use substances and commit crimes. While risk factors for delinquency during adolescence are well studied, factors that influence persisting or desisting from illegal activities during emerging adulthood have not been fully explored. This mixed methods study utilizes a sample of college students aged 18-25 (N=74) and examines factors differentiating those who abstained from illegal behaviors, desisted from illegal behaviors, and persisted in illegal behaviors. Multinomial logistic regression models indicated peers offending and hours spent studying predicted desisting and peers offending predicted persisting (compared to the abstaining group). Three qualitative themes: family and peer bonds, morals and values, and fear of consequences further explained factors influencing emerging adults’ persisting and desisting choices. Implications for social work practice are explored.

Author Biographies

Badiah Haffejee, University of Denver
MSW, PhD student University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work 2148 S. High Street Denver, CO 80208 Tel: (310)-767-6329
Jamie Rae Yoder, University of Denver
MSW, PhD Candidate University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work 2148 S. High Street Denver, CO 80208 Tel: (419) 349-1996
Kimberly Bender, University of Denver
MSW, PhD University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work 2148 S. High Street Denver, CO 80208 Tel: (303) 871‐6760
Published
2013-01-15
Section
Articles