Self-reported and general practitioner recorded indicators of lifetime health up to age 48 according to offender type in the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development.
BACKGROUND: Previous research has suggested that people with a history of offending have worse health compared to non-offenders, but it is less clear whether all types of offenders are at similar health risks. In a New Zealand birth cohort study, Moffitt evidenced three main offending trajectories-life-course-persistent (LCP), adolescence-limited (AL) and late-onset (LO) offending, subsequently confirmed in other substantial longitudinal studies. AIMS: Our aim was to explore the relationship between these offending trajectories and both self-reported (SR) and general practitioner (GP) (primary care) recorded health indicators. METHODS: Self-reported medical data at age 48 were obtained for 394 men followed since age 8 years in the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development. In addition, medical records were obtained from GPs for 264 of them. Health indicators from both sources were compared between each of the three established trajectories of offenders across the life course-LCP, AL, LO and the non-offenders. RESULTS: LCP offenders were found to have over twice the likelihood of disabling medical conditions according to both self-report and GP records. They were also more likely to have GP records indicating mental health problems and treatment for them. According to GP records alone, the LO offenders were also more likely to have mental health problems. The health of AL offenders appeared to be no different from that of the crime-free controls. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings add weight to the growing evidence that LCP offending and offending that only occurs relatively late in life are likely to be the indicators of generally unhealthy and disrupted lives. This suggests that if lifestyle is to change for the better, interventions are likely to be needed for health as well as antisocial behaviour.
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council; Id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000269