The aim of this study was to examine the psychosocial correlates of various crime types among adolescent males born in Finland in 1981.
Data on crime registered in the Finnish National Police Register between 1998 and 2001 were received for 2,866 boys, of whom 81% (n = 2,330) filled in a questionnaire at obligatory military call-up at age 18 in 1999. Crime was divided into five types: drug, violent, property, traffic, and drunk driving offences.
Of the 2,866 boys, 23% had been registered for offending; 4% for drug, 7% for violent, 11% for property, 11% for traffic, and 5% for drunk driving offences during the 4-year period in late adolescence. All the crime types correlated with each other and shared many of the psychosocial problems. Small community size, parents' divorce, aggressiveness, daily smoking, and weekly drunkenness were generic correlates of crime, being independently related to various crime types.
The results support general rather than specific accounts of youth crime. In particular, measures moderating the adverse effects of divorce, alleviating parental adversities and supporting parenthood, and tackling substance abuse seem relevant in social and criminal policy because they address psychosocial problems characterizing youth crime in general.