Continuous Time Modeling with Criminological Panel Data: An Application to the Longitudinal Association between Victimization and Offending

Jost Reinecke, Anke Erdmann, Manuel Voelkle


Background: Criminological research shows that there is nearly always a strong and posi­tive association between delinquency and being a victim of crime. This so-called victim-offender overlap is one of the most consistent and best documented findings in criminology. However, examinations using longitudinal panel data are rather scarce. Previous analyses based on latent growth and cross-lagged panel models showed that the developments of victimization and offending are parallel processes that expose similar stability and mutual influence over the period of adolescence and early adulthood (Erdmann & Reinecke, 2018).

Objectives: The present study examines the relationship between victimization and of­fending over the phase of adolescence and emerging adulthood. The focus is on the ap­plication of continuous time dynamic modeling and on comparing results using data from the criminological panel study Crime in the Modern City. For the present analyses, seven consecutive panel waves are used that contain information about German adolescents from the age of 14 to 20 years.

Approach: The relationship between victimization and offending is analyzed by con­tinuous time structural equation modeling using the R package ctsem (Driver & Voelkle, 2018, 2021). In addition to the unconditional models, relevant predictors (gender, routine activities) are considered in the conditional models. Methododological and substantive as­pects of continuous time dynamic modeling are highlighted in the discussion of the results.


continuous time modeling, panel analysis, R, ctsem, juvenile delinquency, longitudinal data

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