All in the family?” The relationship between sibling offending and offending risk

J. Beijers, C. Bijleveld, S. van de Weijer, A.C. Liefbroer

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the associations between criminality of family members and individual offending. The main focus is on investigating the extent to which criminal offending by siblings is associated with individual offending, as well as the extent to which parental and grandparental offending accounts for this relationship.


Using official conviction data on three generations of Dutch individuals who are at elevated risk of offending, multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed.


The analyses showed that sibling offending increased the risk of individual offending. Parental and grandparental offending only partially accounted for this association. However, parental offending and offending by grandfathers increased the risk of individual offending as well. Furthermore, the analyses showed that offending by brothers and sisters both increased the risk of offending for both men and women.


Sibling criminality seems to be a risk factor in its own right. Therefore, focusing only on children of criminal parents is insufficient. Furthermore, it was found that almost every subsequent offending family member adds risk for children to offend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalJournal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • siblings
  • offending
  • family
  • sibling offending
  • parents
  • grantparents


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