Cambridge University Press, Development and Psychopathology, 04(16), 2004
We examined two hypotheses about the developmental relation between substance abuse and individual differences in desistance from antisocial behavior during young adulthood. The "snares" hypothesis posits that substance abuse should result in time-specific elevations in antisocial behavior relative to an individual's own developmental trajectory of antisocial behavior, whereas the "launch" hypothesis posits that substance abuse early in young adulthood slows an individual's overall pattern of crime desistance relative to the population norm during this developmental period. We conducted latent trajectory analyses to test these hypotheses using interview data about antisocial behaviors and substance abuse assessed at ages 18, 21, and 26 in men from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (N = 461). We found significant individual variability in initial levels and rates of change in antisocial behavior over time as well as support for both the snares hypothesis and the launch hypothesis as explanations for the developmental relation between substance abuse and crime desistance in young men.