Background: Despite the increased interest in female offending trajectories over the last decades, knowledge is still limited. Aim: To meet the need for more knowledge on female offending trajectories by studying sex differences in criminal career patterns. Method: Data on 518 female and 2567 male offenders up to age 30 from the Swedish longitudinal Project Metropolitan study were analysed using latent class analysis. Results: The female offenders were much less predisposed to offend than the males, but when they did, they tended to follow a similar set of trajectories to males in their criminal development over time. Four criminal career patterns were identified for each sex. Two patterns were the same between the sexes, and two were gender unique. All career patterns had meaningful and distinct associations with crime characteristics. Conclusions: Our study presents indicators relating both to gender differences and to heterogeneity within the group of female offenders. One important finding was the identification of an adult-onset offender group unique to females. This group was characterised by high criminal activity over the years following their late onset. Further research will focus on the childhood origins, pathways and outcomes of different female antisocial and criminal careers.


Andersson, F., Levander, S., Svensson, R., & Torstensson Levander, M. (2012) Sex differences in offending trajectories in a Swedish cohort. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cbm.1822