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February 1978

Female Criminality and the Prediction of Recidivism: A Prospective Six-Year Follow-up

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, and the Jewish Hospital of St Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(2):207-214. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770260085010

• A prospective, six-year follow-up investigation of 66 convicted female felons indicated that psychiatric, social, and familial factors defined and measured at the time of the index study affected the rate of criminal recidivism.

Wide individual variation in the course of female criminality was observed. Prolonged supervision on parole or probation appeared to have therapeutic benefit. The most powerful predictors of recidivism were the diagnoses of drug dependence and antisocial personality, and a history of homosexuality. Familial criminality and maternal hysteria were also associated with an increased risk of serious and persistent recidivism. Educational, marital, and employment status contributed to a lesser extent, while race and type of index offense were only significant (P <.05) when minor offenses were considered.