Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Michael Massoglia & Christopher Uggen
Since the 1970s, criminologists have increasingly adopted a life-course perspective. The term life course suggests a focus on how people's criminal behavior changes over the various stages or periods of their lives. While correlated with age, a life-course perspective emphasizes stages, such as adolescence, parenthood, and retirement, rather than age specifically. In addition to understanding these stages, life-course researchers are also interested in how larger societal forces shape individual lives. For example, Elder (1974) and Clausen (1993) have extensively studied the impact of the Great Depression on the school, work, and family situations of those who lived through it. Regardless of the specific empirical question, life-course researchers approach the study of human behavior in terms of stability, change, and the timing of change. In doing so, they look to interactions between larger social or historical patterns and individual events to understand various temporal and developmental sequences. Glen Elder has used ...