Research on Pathways to Desistance [Maricopa County, AZ and Philadelphia County, PA]: Subject Measures - Scales, 2000-2010 (ICPSR 36800)

Version Date: Dec 14, 2017 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Edward P. Mulvey, University of Pittsburgh


Version V4 ()

  • V4 [2017-12-14]
  • V3 [2017-10-17] unpublished
Pathways to Desistance (Subjects - Scales)

The Pathways to Desistance study was a multi-site study that followed 1,354 serious juvenile offenders from adolescence to young adulthood in two locales between the years 2000 and 2010. Enrolled into the study were adjudicated youths from the juvenile and adult court systems in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona (N=654) and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (N=700).

Respondents were enrolled and baseline interviews conducted from November 2000 to January 2003. Follow-up interviews were then scheduled with the respondents at 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, 72 and 84 months past their baseline interview.

The enrolled youth were at least 14 years old and under 18 years old at the time of their committing offense and were found guilty of a serious offense (predominantly felonies, with a few exceptions for some misdemeanor property offenses, sexual assault, or weapons offenses).

Each wave of data collection covered six domains: (1) background characteristics (e.g., demographics, academic achievement, psychiatric diagnoses, offense history, neurological functioning, psychopathy, personality), (2) indicators of individual functioning (e.g., work and school status and performance, substance abuse, mental disorder, antisocial behavior), (3) psychosocial development and attitudes (e.g., impulse control, susceptibility to peer influence, perceptions of opportunity, perceptions of procedural justice, moral disengagement), (4) family context (e.g., household composition, quality of family relationships), (5) personal relationships (e.g., quality of romantic relationships and friendships, peer delinquency, contacts with caring adults), and (6) community context (e.g., neighborhood conditions, personal capital, and community involvement). Information about the measures used to capture this information can be found on the Pathways to Desistance website.

The current Subject Measures study primarily consists of the calculated scores from constructs asked about during the interview, but the individual scale items were withheld at that time. These variables are typically consistent across the waves that the scale was asked about during the course of the entire study. Most of the files contain variables from all 11 waves of data collection. The table in the front of the User Guide will list which waves are present in each data file.

Mulvey, Edward P. Research on Pathways to Desistance [Maricopa County, AZ and Philadelphia County, PA]: Subject Measures - Scales, 2000-2010. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-14.

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Arizona Governor's Justice Commission (JBISA01224400), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (2001-J05-011944, 2002-J04-13032, 2003-J04-14560, 2004-J04-15849, 2005-J04-17071, 2006-J04-18272), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (043357), United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA019697 01 - 05), United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (1999-IJ-CX-0053, 2008-IJ-CX-0023), United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2000-MU-MU-0007, 2005-JK-FX-K001, 2007-MU-FX-0002), William Penn Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation (99-2009-099)


Users are reminded that these data are to be used solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information, and not for the investigation of specific individuals or organizations.

Access to some of the data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2000 -- 2010
2000-11 -- 2003-01 (Baseline), 2001-05 -- 2003-08 (6-month Follow-up), 2001-08 -- 2004-03 (12-month Follow-up), 2002-05 -- 2004-09 (18-month Follow-up), 2002-11 -- 2005-02 (24-month Follow-up), 2003-05 -- 2005-09 (30-month Follow-up), 2003-11 -- 2006-04 (36-month Follow-up), 2004-12 -- 2007-04 (48-month Follow-up), 2005-11 -- 2008-03 (60-month Follow-up), 2006-11 -- 2009-02 (72-month Follow-up), 2007-11 -- 2010-03 (84-month Follow-up)

More information about this study is available on the Pathways to Desistance Web site.

Other contributors to the Pathways to Desistance study:

  • Carol A. Schubert, University of Pittsburgh (Study Director)
  • Laurie Chassin, Ph.D., Arizona State University (Co-Investigator)
  • George P. Knight, Ph.D., Arizona State University (Co-Investigator)
  • Sandra Losoya, Ph.D., Arizona State University (Site Coordinator)
  • Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., Temple University (Co-Investigator)
  • Robert Brame, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • Elizabeth Cauffman, Ph.D., University of California-Irvine (Co-Investigator)
  • Jeffrey Fagan, Ph.D., Columbia University
  • Alex Piquero, Ph.D., Florida State University

Some data parts contain the word "[Restricted]" after the part title. A restricted data use application will need to be filled out to access these particular data files. The authors of these particular scales did not give the Principal Investigator permission to release the individual items publicly. The restricted part's codebook is public so that users might see what the variables are contained in that file.

Each data file contains 1,354 cases - one case for each respondent who completed an interview during the initial baseline phase.

The User Guide provides a brief explanation about each data file prepared by the Principal Investigator. At the beginning of the document is a table that lists additional details about each file prepared by ICPSR.

Demographics file (DS0009) contains the variable S#SITE to identify the county of the respondent (Maricopa or Philadelphia).

The aims of the larger Pathways to Desistance project were to identify initial patterns of how serious adolescent offenders stop antisocial activity, to describe the role of social context and developmental changes in promoting these positive changes, and to compare the effects of sanctions and interventions in promoting these changes. The larger goals were to improve decision-making by court and social service personnel and to clarify policy debates about alternatives for serious adolescent offenders. The study relied primarily on self-report information from study participants.

Six potential cities/counties were investigated for potential selection before Phoenix and Philadelphia were finalized. These two areas were selected due to containing (a) high enough rates of serious crime committed by juveniles; (b) a diverse racial/ethnic mix of potential participants; (c) a sizable enough number of female offenders; (d) a contrast in the way the systems operate; (e) political support for the study and cooperation from the practitioners in the juvenile and criminal justice systems; and (f) the presence of experienced research collaborators to oversee the data collection.

Youth were selected for potential enrollment after a review of court files in each locale revealed that they had been adjudicated (found guilty) of a serious offense. Eligible crimes included all felony offenses with the exception of less serious property crimes, as well as misdemeanor weapons offenses and misdemeanor sexual assault.

Drug offenses constitute a large proportion of all offenses committed by youth. And males comprise the vast majority of youth who are charged with drug offenses. Therefore the study instituted a capped proportion of males with drug offenses to 15 percent of the sample at each site.

All females who met the age and adjudicated crime requirements, or any youth whose case was being considered for trial in the adult court system, were eligible for enrollment regardless of whether the charged crime was a drug offense.

Longitudinal: Panel

Youths 14-19 years of age from the juvenile and adult court systems in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania from November 2000 to April 2003.

survey data

The majority of the data files contain the same repeating variables across the eleven waves of data collection. Please consult the User Guide for more details and a further description of the contents of each file.

During the enrollment period (November 2000 to January 2003) 10,461 individuals who met the age and petitioned charge criteria were processed in the court systems in Philadelphia and Phoenix. In 5,382 of these cases (51 percent) the youth was found not guilty or had the charges reduced below a felony-level offense at adjudication. Another 1,272 cases were dropped (12 percent) from consideration because the court data were insufficient to determine the person's eligibility status at adjudication.

Of the remaining 3,807 eligible cases 1,799 (47 percent) were excluded from consideration due to potential case overload of the local interviewer or the 15 percent threshold of drug offenders was close to being breached.

This resulted in 2,008 youths who were approached for inclusion into the study. Of those youths who were approached 1,354 consented and participated (67 percent).

Over the course of the 7-year follow-up period, there were 864 respondents (63.8 percent) located and interviewed for 10 of 10 possible interviews. An additional 309 youths (22.8 percent) were located and interviewed for 8 or 9 out of 10 possible interviews. Conversely, there were 17 (1.3 percent) respondents who didn't participate in any additional surveys and another 22 (1.6 percent) who only were located and interviewed for just 1 or 2 of the 10 possible follow-up interviews. These numbers do not adjust for 91 participants who either died (n=48) or refused continued participation (n=43) of the study over the course of the 7-year follow-up period.

Overall the study was able to achieve an average of 89.5 percent for each follow-up interview.

This study contains the individual items that comprise over 50 scales. Additional information about the scales is available on the Constructs page of the Pathways to Desistance Web site.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Mulvey, Edward P. Research on Pathways to Desistance [Maricopa County, AZ and Philadelphia County, PA]: Subject Measures - Scales, 2000-2010. ICPSR36800-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-14.

2017-12-14 Data for the remaining 21 parts were added to the collection. The User Guide was updated to include information about these new parts.

2017-10-17 Data for parts 1, 7, 10, 16, 24, 30, 31, 34, 36, 37, 42, 49, and 50 were added to the collection. The User Guide was updated to include information about these 13 new parts.

2017-09-05 Data for parts 8, 9, 12, 21, 22, 28, 35, 39, 46, 47, 51, 53, and 55 were added to the collection. The User Guide was updated to include information about these 13 new parts.

2017-07-18 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data does not include any weight variables.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. Please see version history for more details.

This study is maintained and distributed by the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP). NAHDAP is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).