Publications: Criminology

  • Tzoumakis, S., Carr, V.J., Dean, K., Laurens, K.R., Kariuki, M., Harris, F., Green, M.J. (2018). Prenatal maternal smoking, maternal offending, and offspring behavioural and cognitive outcomes in early childhood. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, doi: 10.1002/cbm.2089 (Published online 5 September 2018).

This study examined the associations between quantity of prenatal smoking and frequency of maternal offending and offspring behavioural and cognitive outcomes at age 5 years, while accounting for other prenatal and family risk factors. Prenatal smoking and frequent maternal offending (comprising two or more offences) were associated with all developmental vulnerabilities examined, even after adjusting for other familial and prenatal risk factors. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) for prenatal smoking ranged from 5.3% to 15.8% and PAFs for maternal offending ranged from 3.4% to 11.8% across the offspring outcomes. These findings suggest prevention and intervention efforts during prenatal periods for vulnerable families may have benefits for both behavioural and cognitive problems in early childhood.

  • Tzoumakis, S, Dean, K, Green, MJ, Zheng, C, Kariuki, M, Harris, F, Carr, VJ, & Laurens, KR. The impact of parental offending on offspring aggression in early childhood: A population-based record linkage study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol, 2017, 54(4), 445-455. Published online 13 January 2017: doi: 10.1007/s00127-017-1347-3   

This study examined the impact of parental criminal offending, both paternal and maternal, on offspring aggression at age 5 years. Parental mental illness, child’s sex, and socioeconomic disadvantage were also accounted for in the analyses. Offspring aggression was assessed using the Aggressive Behaviour subdomain of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), a teacher-reported cross-sectional survey on child development. Parental criminal offending was obtained from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics data and parental mental health was obtained from NSW Admitted Patients and Mental Health Ambulatory data. Parental history of violent and frequent offending increased the risk of high levels of aggression in offspring during early childhood, highlighting the need for intervention with affected families during this key developmental period.

  • Laurens, K.R., Tzoumakis, S., Kariuki, M., Green, M.J., Hamde, M., Harris, F., Carr, V.J., Dean, K. (2017). Pervasive influence of maternal and paternal criminal offending on early childhood development: A population data linkage study. Psychological Medicine, 47(5), 889-901.

This report examined the impact of parental criminal offending on developmental outcomes at age 5 years. Data from the Australian Early Development Census, a teacher-reported assessment of childhood development across five key domains, was linked with maternal and paternal offending histories obtained from official records. Children whose parents had a history of criminal offending were at significantly greater risk of developmental vulnerability on each of the five domains. The risk of vulnerability increased further when both parents offended, when mothers rather than fathers offended, and when the offending was of a violent nature. For all types of offending, children were more likely to be vulnerable on multiple domains than on a single domain. These findings indicate a widespread impact of parental offending on early childhood development and highlight the need to support affected families in order to improve outcomes.