With regard to crime, stability does not imply once a crook always a crook, that levels of crime or problem behaviors remain at the same rate over time and do not fluctuate, or that crime is caused only by variation in self control. It does mean that some characteristic or characteristics of the person cause crime rate differences over large periods of time. This chapter reviews and critiques developmental criminology and longitudinal studies of crime causation. It provides a critical evaluation of the use of the concept of stability in research about crime and on how prior record and early childhood effects have been misspecified in criminology. In addition, it critically evaluates the turning points, transition, and desistence research. Critiques of tests of the self-control concept in developmental and life-course research are presented. The role of individual differences in sociological theories of crime and delinquency and common problems with inferences from longitudinal data are discussed.
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