A Gendered Theory of Delinquency and Despair in the Life Course Academic Article uri icon


  • The paper pays particular attention to gender- and age-linked differences in forms of indirect, relational and direct, physical forms of delinquent aggression, as well as to sequential links of these forms of delinquent aggression to depression and drug and alcohol abuse. A power-control theory of the gender-delinquency relationship that draws attention to differences in familial control practices is then linked to these variations in the expression of delinquency and despair. We extend the focus of power-control theory to address how parental agency and support for dominant attitudes or schemas influence involvement in different forms of delinquency and despair. This extension emphasizes that differences in structure, particularly between more and less patriarchal households, result in degrees of difference and of kind in non-normative outcomes. The paper concludes with a call for increased diversity in the measurement of delinquency and despair and for the development of opposite-sex sibling samples to explore gender- and age-linked differences in non-normative phenomena.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hagan, J., McCarthy, B., & Foster, H.

citation count

  • 17

publication date

  • March 2002