An Examination of the Relationship between Cohabitation and Adolescent Delinquency Involvement

Robert A. Lonardo, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University
Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University

This paper draws on the union formation and crime literatures to better understand young adults’ transitions into cohabitation as well as the potential impact of cohabitation experience on delinquency involvement and substance use. The data for this study come from the four waves of the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (N=1,092). We first examine whether delinquency and substance use lead to higher odds of cohabitation, earlier ages at first cohabitation and lower quality cohabiting relationships. The analysis continues with an investigation of whether cohabitation status and quality of the cohabiting relationship predict decreases in delinquency involvement and substance use. Based on findings from prior research on marriage and crime, the potential mediating role of delinquent peers is also considered.

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Presented in Session 89: Demography of Crime and Punishment