Developmental Theory Paper




Objective: Explain the history of and influences on developmental theory.

Mindset: Appreciate developmental views of delinquency as it relates to life course and latent trait.

Life course theory suggests that delinquent behavior is a dynamic process, influenced by individual characteristics, as well as social experiences, and that the factors that cause antisocial behaviors change dramatically over a person’s lifespan. According to the life course view, even as toddlers, people begin relationships and behaviors that will determine their adult life course. Some individuals are incapable of maturing in a reasonable and timely fashion because of family, environmental, or personal problems. Since a transition from one stage of life to another can be a bumpy ride, the propensity to commit crimes is neither stable nor constant. It is a developmental process. 

Latent trait theory suggests that a stable feature, characteristic, property, or condition, such as defective intelligence or impulsive personality, makes some people delinquency-prone over the life course. Suspected latent traits include defective intelligence; damaged or impulsive personality; genetic abnormalities; the physical-chemical functioning of the brain; and environmental influences on brain function, such as drugs, chemicals, and injuries. These traits are associated with antisocial behaviors.

ð Watch the video titled Gang Member Turned PhD Mentors Youth. Here’s the video link:

ð Write a 1-page paper describing whether you believe delinquency is more a product of: 

o social factors and experiences (life course) or,
o a latent trait. 
o Include a description of each of these, including a treatment comparing and contrasting the two theories.

ð Ensure that you provide an introduction, conclusion, and a minimum of three scholarly resources that support your writing.

ð Ensure that you use the Paper Writing rubric to guide your efforts and that you apply the required formatting style. 
Please be sure to use reference thank you so much for all your help. Hope to hear from you soon have a wonderful day.


Developmental Theory Paper

            Delinquency among youths is a phenomenon that cuts across different cultures and continents. Various factors have been attributed to the causes or influencers of delinquency amongst youths such as peer pressure. Having watched the Gang Member Turned Ph.D. Mentors Youth video, I believe delinquency is more a product of experiences and social factors than a latent trait. The protagonist of the video confesses that he was brought up in notorious neighborhoods characterized by violence and dire poverty, which exposed him to delinquent life. This view conforms to the life course theory that associates delinquency with social factors.


            Relationships and interactions between children and other family members, peers or community members influence the development of unsociable behaviors and delinquency.Social factors such as family structures (family discord and poor parenting supervision) are delinquency risk factors (Wasserman & Seracini, 2001). Peer pressure especially from a delinquent peer group is another factor that results in delinquent behavior. Living in adverse neighborhoods surrounded by antisocial community members also results in delinquent behaviors among youths (Farrington, 2000).

            In contrast, the latent trait theory posits that particular people have a personal characteristic that pushes them to engage in criminal activities. As such, the individual is driven by uncontrollable impulses to commit the crime as well as the availability of opportunities to commit the crime. While some personal traits such as impulsivity and low IQ predispose one to delinquent behavior, social environmental factors influence delinquent behaviors. Exposure to violence and poverty are key determinants of delinquency. Chung and Steinberg (2006) found out that weak neighborhood social organization is obliquely linked to delinquency. This implies that social factors are the main causes of delinquency.


“Gang Member Turned PhD Mentors Youth”Accessed from: 

Chung, H. & Steinberg, L. (2006). Relations between neighborhood factors, parenting behaviors,              deviance, and delinquency among serious juvenile offenders. Development     Psychology,42(2), 319-331.

Farrington, D. (2000). Explaining and preventing crime: The globalization of knowledge- The       American Society of Criminology 1999 presidential address. Criminology, 38 (1), 1-24.

Wasserman, G. & Seracini, A. (2001). Family risk factors and interventions. In Child         Delinquents: Development, Intervention, and Service Needs, ed. Loeber, C. & Farrington,           D. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, pp. 165-189.

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