Parental criminality and children’s family-life trajectories: Findings for a mid-20th century cohort


  • Doreen Huschek Stockholm University
  • Catrien C Bijleveld VU University Amsterdam & The Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement



intergenerational, family formaiton, life course, sequence analysis, incarcerated parents


The paper analyses the family life courses of sons and daughters from families with low socioeconomic status and at high risk to offend. For this Dutch cohort (N=522), born on average in 1932, register and archive data on offending and family-life events from age 18 to 50 years are investigated. We discuss different mechanisms of how parental criminality may affect demographic behaviours, such as marriage and parenthood. As these demographic behaviours are interlinked, and as their ordering is meaningful, we apply a holistic approach by using sequence and cluster analysis to construct family-life courses. Findings indicate four family-life trajectories that are almost similar for the sons and daughters, although criminal fathers appear to affect sons’ and daughters’ trajectories differently. Daughters’ family-life trajectories seem directly affected by father’s offending whereas sons’ trajectories are only affected by their own juvenile offending.