Individual Offending, Routine Activities, and Activity Settings: Revisiting the Routine Activity Theory of General Deviance

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51 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine whether a diverse range of both structured and unstructured routine activities is associated with offending, and whether activities have crime-specific effects. Method: Data on 15-year-olds from the fourth wave of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime were analyzed (minimum n = 3,064). Principal components analyses identified core routine activities. Random intercepts logistic regression models examined their associations with assault, fare evasion, shoplifting, vandalism, and drug use. Results: Core routine activities identified were hanging around with friends locally, hanging around away from home, nightlife, cultural and consumer activities, and involvement in youth clubs and sports. All had associations with offending, though effects varied by offense. For example,involvement in youth clubs and sports was positively associated with assault and fare evasion; involvement in nightlife was positively associated with assault and drug use; and hanging out with friends locally was positively associated with assault, shoplifting, and vandalism. Conclusions: It is theorized that the varied targets and facilitators present in different activity settings help account for study results. Findings are limited by the cross-sectional character of data analyzed and may be influenced by selection effects. They would benefit from further testing with longitudinal data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-416
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


  • offending
  • opportunities
  • routine activity theory
  • settings
  • youth


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