Romantic Relationships and Time-Varying Moderators of Desistance: A Focus on Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood, and Adulthood



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The impact of marriage on antisocial behavior is consistently documented in extant literature (Giordano, Cernkovich, & Rudolph, 2002; King, Massoglia, & MacMillan, 2007; Sampson & Laub, 1993, 2003); however, the impact of dating and cohabiting relationships has received less attention. As such, this dissertation uses six waves of data from the Pathways to Desistance study to examine how elements of romantic relationships, peer relationships, and sex have differential effects on individuals in adolescence, emerging adulthood, and adulthood with regard to desistance from nonviolent offending, violent offending, and official arrest. Results indicated a number of differential relationship affects for adolescents, emerging adults, and adults. In addition, peer influence and sex differences were noted. Peer antisocial influence continued to matter throughout the life course and romantic relationship involvement and quality of romantic relationships did not mitigate this effect. In addition, non-violent and violent offending both decreased as individuals aged. Limitations, future research, and policy recommendations are discussed.