The Impact of Adolescent Deviance on Marital Trajectories

Elaine Eggleston Doherty, Kerry M. Green, Margaret E. Ensminger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marriage is a key life event that has numerous benefits. Recent research extends these benefits to include desistance from crime and drug use yet there has been little investigation regarding whether deviant behavior in adolescence impacts long-term marital patterns. Since rates of marriage are low among African Americans and rates of adolescent deviance and crime are high, we investigate the long-term relationship between the two drawing on longitudinal data from the Woodlawn cohort of urban African Americans. This article investigates whether serious adolescent delinquency and marijuana use predict marital trajectories, controlling for known correlates. Multivariate findings indicate that within this African-American population, deviance predicts the probability of marriage, stability of marriage, and timing of marriage for men yet deviance relates solely to the probability of marriage for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-206
Number of pages22
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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