Theory and Method in the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime

David J. Smith, Susan McVie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper summarizes the purposes and methods of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of 4,300 young people in the City of Edinburgh and the neighbourhoods where they live. The study is not concerned with early childhood influences, but with transitions and personal transformations during adolescence and early adulthood. It aims to explain why some, among all those with criminal inclinations, become offenders, and why some stop offending much sooner than others. Unlikely previous studies, it focuses in particular on explaining gender differences, and on the mechanisms leading to serious, long-term, and frequent offending. It aims to assess the influence of contacts with the official systems on subsequent criminal careers. Finally, it integrates explanations at the levels of the individual and local community. The rationale for the basic design of the study is set out, and some early findings are presented and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-95
Number of pages24
JournalThe British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society (BJC)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • longitudinal
  • neighbourhoods
  • youth crime
  • adolescence
  • persistent offending
  • community dynamics


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