Labeling and Cumulative Disadvantage: The Impact of Formal Police Intervention on Life Chances and Crime During Emerging Adulthood

Giza Lopes, Marvin D. Krohn, Alan J. Lizotte, Nicole M. Schmidt, Bob Edward Vásquez, Jón Gunnar Bernburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Research in labeling theory has been revived recently, particularly in relation to the effect of labeling on critical noncriminal outcomes that potentially exacerbate involvement in crime. This study partakes in that revitalization by examining direct and indirect effects of police intervention in the lives of adolescents who were followed into their 30s. The authors find that early police intervention is indirectly related to drug use at the ages of 29 to 31, as well as unemployment and welfare receipt. Given that such effects were found some 15 years after the labeling event, on criminal and noncriminal outcomes, and after controlling for intraindividual factors, the authors conclude that the labeling perspective is still relevant within a developmental framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-488
Number of pages33
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Support for the Rochester Youth Development Study has been provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (86-JN-CX-0007), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA005512), the National Science Foundation (SBR-9123299), and the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH63386). Work on this project was also aided by grants to the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University at Albany from NICHD (P30HD32041) and NSF (SBR-9512290). Official arrest data was provided electronically by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Points of view, conclusions, and methodological strategies in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the funding agencies or data sources.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cumulative disadvantage
  • labeling theory
  • life course
  • police intervention
  • transition t.a.ulthood


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