Sociology Index


If you go to bed early you are less at risk than if you like to visit the bars many nights a week. Lifestyle theory or Lifestyle-exposure theory is a theory of victimization that acknowledges that not everyone has the same lifestyle and that some lifestyles expose people to more risks than do other lifestyles.

Hindelang and associates have developed a lifestyle theory or lifestyle-exposure theory to explain the correlates of crime against persons, and Cohen and Felson have extended the theory to property crimes.

Within the victimology literature, lifestyle exposure theory asserts that violent offending and other forms of antisocial behavior are indicators of a lifestyle that places individuals at increased risk for violent victimization (Jensen & Brownfield, 1986).

Conventional Crime (Criminology: A Canadian Perspective, P 242-269, 1987, Rick Linden, D J Koenig
Abstract: According to this perspective, the probability of criminal victimization varies by time, space, and social setting and by the extent to which routine activities increase target suitability and reduce effective guardianship. The patterns and correlates of conventional crimes are consistent with this approach. Crimes against property tend to be committed disproportionately against those whose lifestyle leave their possessions least effectively guarded.

Crimes against persons have some different correlates than do crimes against property, but most of these differences are consistent with the lifestyle-exposure theory. For typical crimes, victims (and offenders) are most likely to be young, male, and engage in evening activities away from home. Thus, their lifestyles place them in social settings with a higher risk of criminal victimization. Strategies for crime control consistent with this theory would include those to increase effective guardianship and reduce the availability of motivated offenders.

Importation, deprivation, and varieties of serving time: An integrated lifestyle-exposure model of prison offending - Andy Hochstetler, T, Matt DeLisi
Abstract: Using data on 208 male, former inmates in a midwestern state, the current study extended the importation/deprivation debate by developing an integrated model of prison offending. The model contained attitudinal measures, self-control, perceptions of prison conditions, prison lifestyles, objective measures of prison conditions, and controls. Structural equation modeling indicated that both the importation and deprivation theories of inmate behavior were salient, however, their effects were mediated by the inmate’s lifestyle while imprisoned, specifically, his participation in the inmate economy.

Structural Equation Modeling Assessment of Key Causal Factors in Computer Crime Victimization - Authors: Choi, Kyung-Shick, Issue Date: 8-May-2008
Abstract: This dissertation empirically assesses a computer-crime victimization model by applying Routine activities theory. Routine activities theory is arguably, as presented in detail in the main body of this study, merely an expansion of Hindelang, Gottfredson, and Garofalo’s lifestyle exposure theory. The components of routine activity theory were tested via structural equation modeling to assess the existence of any statistical significance between individual online lifestyles, the levels of computer security, and levels of individual computer-crime victimization. A self-repor studies survey, which contained multiple measures of computer security, online lifestyles, and computer-crime victimization, was administered to 204 college students to gather data to test the model. This study was designed to convey two specific significant contributions to the empirical literature in criminology. First, this study is the first empirical test focusing on individual computer-crime victimization via a theoretical approach using routine activities theory. Second, utilizing structural equation modeling facilitates the assessment of the new theoretical model by conveying an overall picture of the relationship among the causal factors in the proposed model. The findings from this study with empirical evidence supports for the components of routine activities theory by delineating patterns of computer-crime victimization. This study is limited in that (a) it does not delineate individual computer crime victimization based on public computer use; (b) it needs to provide more precise scales to measure computer security and online users’ behaviors for delineating a true crime victimization model; (c) it just considers computer criminals’ motivation as a given situation. Future research should include and test another set of questionnaires that are primarily focused on public computer usage in order to differentiate the victimization levels on those computers. In addition, future research must develop more refined survey instruments to estimate computer security and online lifestyle measures. Furthermore, adding computer criminals’ motivational factors in the victimization model would substantially contribute to delineate true computer-crime victimization. This research is an initial step toward building a solid computer-crime victimization model. Hence, considering stated the limitations in the future study would produce a refined computer victimization model based on routine activities theory.

Both Hindelang et al’s (1978) lifestyle and Cohen and Felson’s (1979) routine activities theories were espoused during the same period of time that the criminal justice system began to place value on studying victimization issues (Williams & McShane, 1999, pp. 233-234). Criminologists in the early 1970s began to realize the importance of victimization studies because they previously placed their focus on the criminal offender and ignored the crime victim (Karmen, 2006). Creation of “the self-report survey” and the emergence of national victimization studies in 1972 facilitated the development of victimization theories in this era (Karmen, 2006, p. 51). Lifestyle-exposure theory and routine activities theory were introduced based on the evidence of “the new victimization statistics” as a part of a rational theoretical perspective embedded in sociological orientation (Williams & McShane, 1999, p. 235). The two theories appear to be ideally suited for understanding why individuals are predisposed to crime and how an individual’s activities, interactions, and social structure provide opportunities for offenders.
Hindelang et al. (1978) suggest that an individual’s daily patterned activities, such as vocational and leisure activities, contribute to victimization. They posit that an individual’s expected social roles and social position influence their personal lifestyle patterns, and contribute to the individual’s decision to engage in certain activities. More importantly, engaging in risky activities can be made through individual rational choice.
Cohen and Felson (1979) assume that there are three main components to predict a likelihood of an occurring victimization event. First, a motivated offender must exist for the victimization to occur. Second, the presence of a suitable target is necessary for the occurrence of the victimization. Third, the absence of a capable guardian makes easy access for offenders to victimize the target. There must be a confluence or convergence of all three components for the victimization to occur. Thus, absence of one of the three components is likely to decrease or eliminate the victimization occurrence.
In this study, lifestyle variables from lifestyle exposure theory, which arguably equates to the level of target suitability in routine activities theory, and the capable guardianship variable from routine activities theory are taken into account. This project hypothesizes that an individual’s computer-oriented lifestyle in cyberspace contributes to his or her potential computer-crime victimization. In addition, the study also hypothesizes that the presence of installed computer security in a computer is a significant factor that can prevent or minimize the occurrence of computer crime. This study predicts that variation of these two main factors determines the level of an individual’s computer-crime victimization potential.

by: Matthew B. Robinson, Ph.D. - Journal of Crime and Justice
Appalachian State University, Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice
This paper reports findings from an exploratory, place-specific study of the relationship between victims' lifestyles, routine activities, and residential burglary victimization. A telephone survey differentiated people with various lifestyles in terms of daily obligatory and discretionary activities. These differential lifestyles were related to variations in routine activities (i.e., pedestrian and automotive traffic) on street segments around residential areas. In a pooled cross-sectional design, street segments with higher volumes of routine activities between 1992-1996 had significantly lower burglary rates over this time period, as did street blocks with irregular periods of routine activities in 1997. Implications are discussed for the lifestyle / exposure and routine activity theories and for the movement in criminology away from explaining why individual offenders commit crimes, toward explaining why crimes happen at particular places at particular times and not others.

The "lifestyle/exposure theory" was developed by Hindelang, Gottfredson, and Garofalo.
Lifestyles are patterned, regular, recurrent, prevalent, or "routine activities". Lifestyles consist of the activities that people engage in on a daily basis, including both obligatory and discretionary activities.
Kennedy and Forde (1990:208) summarized the lifestyle/exposure model as "lifestyle, encompassing differences in age, sex, marital status, family income, and race, influences daily routines and vulnerability to criminal victimization, resulting in the fact that "Victimization is not evenly distributed randomly across space and time -- there are high-risk locations and high-risk time periods" (Garofalo, 1987:26). "Lifestyle patterns influence (a) the amount of exposure to places and times with varying risks of victimization, and (b) the prevalence of associations with others who are more or less likely to commit crimes."
A similar theoretical model developed by Kennedy and Forde (1990: 209, 211) suggested that background characteristics and daily activities affect time spent in risky lifestyles which lead to dangerous results (i.e., criminal victimization). In their words, "demographic and lifestyle variables . . . can be interpreted as contributing to more or less 'time spent in risky activities' and indirectly contributing to 'dangerous results'" (Kennedy and Forde, 1990:209).
Numerous studies have shown relationships between daily activities of individuals and their likelihood of criminal victimization (Riley, 1987:340). In other words, what people do and how they behave places them at either more or less risk of criminal victimization (Maxfield, 1987; Miethe, Stafford, and Long, 1987; Sampson and Wooldredge, 1987).
According to Sampson and Wooldredge (1987:372): "An active lifestyle . . . appears to influence victimization risk by increasing exposure of persons and homes to potential offenders while guardianship is low." Yet, an active lifestyle may not necessarily increase one's risk of criminal victimization. For example, if there is a great deal of activity by residents, neighbors, or passers by around a residence, then this activity may serve to decrease the likelihood that a property offender will victimize a residence. In fact, many property offenders are non-confrontational and want to avoid being seen by residents, neighbors, or passers by (Cromwell, Olson, and Avary, 1991; Tunnell, 1994; Wright and Decker, 1994).
Whether an active lifestyle leads to higher or lower risks for criminal victimization may depend on several factors. It might depend on the nature of one's activities -- i.e., whether they are patterned and predictable to offenders, or sporadic and less predictable. This issue has not been settled by academic research, although the majority of lifestyle research suggests that active lifestyles increase risks for criminal victimization (Robinson, 1997b). Part of why there is some uncertainty about this issue is because when relationships between lifestyles and crime are studied, dependent variables typically consist of some composite measure of crime (see Robinson, 1997b; Thompson and Fisher, 1996). Whether active lifestyles lead to higher or lower risks for crime might depend on the specific type of crime that is being studied. Since composite measures of crime have been utilized by researchers rather than distinct measures of individual crime types (Bennett, 1991; Maxfield, 1987; Thompson and Fisher, 1996), it is nearly impossible to differentiate the effects of peoples' lifestyles on different types of criminal victimization. This is problematic, because lifestyle/exposure theory is "crime specific" (Bennett, 1991:158; Thompson and Fisher, 1996). For example, crimes such as burglary and theft may create different opportunities for offenders:
For a burglary to occur, an offender has to break and enter a home to get the desired goods. An offender who commits a larceny, on the other hand, may ride off with a bicycle left out on the lawn or steal something from the porch of a home. These examples demonstrate that the opportunity structure for burglary and larceny are different and therefore the two crimes must be examined separately in research (Thompson and Fisher, 1996:52; also see Gottfredson, 1984; Maxfield, 1987; Sampson and Wooldredge, 1987).
Research examining the relationship between lifestyles and crime should avoid pooling or aggregating crime types, because examining the effects of lifestyles on composite measures of crime leads to inconsistent findings (Thompson and Fisher, 1996:53).  - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Repeat and multiple victimizations: the role of individual and contextual factors. Outlaw M, Ruback B, Britt C. 
Department of Sociology, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043, USA.
The present research uses hierarchical modeling to examine the relative contributions of factors about the person, factors about the context, and, most important the interaction of factors about the person and factors about the context in models of both repeat victimization (more than one of the same type of crime) and multiple victimization (two or more different types of crime). Using telephone survey data from a multistage sample of Seattle residents, we estimate separate hierarchical models for repeat property, repeat violent and multiple victimization. Results indicate that repeat victimization of both types varies substantially by neighborhood, whereas multiple victimization seems more determined by individual-level factors. Implications for social disorganization theory, routine activity/lifestyle exposure theory, and future work on repeat victimization are discussed. - - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Danger on the Streets - Marginality and Victimization Among Homeless People 
Barrett A. Lee, Pennsylvania State University
Christopher J. Schreck, Rochester Institute of Technology 
Data from a national survey are used to examine the relationship between marginality and criminal victimization among the homeless. The results show that homeless people are victimized disproportionately often both in absolute and relative terms (i.e., compared to members of the domiciled population)and that the modal pattern entails multiple forms of victimization. Conventional demographic antecedents of victimization receive little support in the analysis. However, measures representing different dimensions of marginality—disaffiliation, health problems, traumatic events, and lifestyle-exposure—all significantly increase the odds of being victimized, as hypothesized. The failure of the lifestyle-exposure variables to mediate the effects of the other predictors suggests that distal factors should be considered along with proximate ones if the vulnerability of disadvantaged groups to crime is to be adequately understood. Implications of the present research for the victim-offender relationship and the meaning of victimization are also discussed. - - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Drinking routines/lifestyles and predatory victimization: A causal analysis
James R. Lasley, California State University, Fullerton
Abstract: This study explores the causal role of drinking routines and lifestyles in the social process of becoming the victim of predatory crime. Data used include demographic and lifestyle characteristics of approximately 6,300 respondents from the 1982 British Crime Survey. On the basis of theoretical propositions derived from extant victim theory, various drinking routine/lifestyle models of predatory victimization were constructed and were tested empirically. The results suggested that victimogenic demographic attributes (i.e., being male or young) are mediated by certain combined patterns of alcohol use and nighttime activities. In particular, findings suggested that drinking routines and lifestyles characterized as “high exposure” increase the odds of predatory victimization. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. - - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Victimization from Terrorist Attacks: Randomness or Routine Activities?
Daphna Canetti-Nisim, Gustavo Mesch, Ami Pedahzur
Abstract: This study tackles the as yet unaddressed question of the various types of factors related to victims of terrorism. We have explored core assumptions of terrorism and victimization theories by empirically testing both the randomness and the lifestyle-exposure theories. Specifically, we looked at how characteristics of victims of suicide bombings differ from the characteristics of those who have been casualties of other types of terrorism. Findings obtained via logistic regressions clearly refute the randomness hypothesis that the risk of victimization from terrorism is similar across all segments of society. Furthermore, findings indicate that victimization from suicide vis--vis other types of terrorism is related to the basics of lifestyle-exposure theories. - - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Understanding Theories of Criminal Victimization 
Robert F. Meier, Terance D. Miethe
Crime and Justice, Vol. 17, 1993 (1993), pp. 459-499
Abstract: Current theories of victimization have generated a sizable body of empirical research, mostly within the last two decades. The two most widely known perspectives, lifestyle-exposure and routine activities theories, have been the object of much current thinking and empirical testing, but their maturation has been hampered by many of the same problems impeding theories of criminality. These include inadequate attention to variation by type of crime, compartmentalized thinking, poor links between theory and data, inadequate measures of key concepts, and failure to specify clearly functional relationships between sets of variables. Many of these problems can be addressed by closer examination of the interrelationships among victims, offenders, and criminal situations. Victimization theories should be incorporated into comprehensive integrated theories of crime. - - Lifestyle exposure theory.

Lifestyle Exposure Theory Bibliography

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Cullen, Ian, Godson, Vida, Major, Sandra & Timson, Lesley. (1974). The university in an urban environment: A study of activity patterns from a planning viewpoint. London, England: Heinemann.
Akers, Ronald. (1994). Criminological theory: Introduction and evaluation. Los Angeles: Roxbury.
Bennett, Richard. (1991). "Routine activities: A cross-national assessment of a criminological perspective." Social Forces 70(1), 147-63.
Chapin, F. Stuart, Jr. (1974). Human activity patterns in the city: Things people do in time and space. New York: John Wiley & Sons. - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Clark, David. (1988). An analysis of guardian effectiveness in the prevention of residential burglary. Ph.D. Dissertation. State University of New York at Albany.
Clarke, Ronald & Felson, Marcus. (1993). Routine activity and rational choice. London, England: Transaction.
Cohen, Lawrence & Cantor, David. (1981). "Residential burglary in the united states: Lifestyle and demographic factors associated with the probability of victimization." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 18(1), 113-27.
Cohen, Lawrence & Felson, Marcus. (1979). "Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach." American Sociological Review 44, 588-608.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Cohen, Lawrence, Felson, Marcus & Land, Kenneth. (1980). "Property crime rates in the united states: A macrodynamic analysis, 1947-1977; with ex ante forecasts for the mid-1980's." American Journal of Sociology 86, 90-118.
Cohen, Lawrence, Kluegel, James & Land, Kenneth. (1981). "Social inequality and predatory criminal victimization: An exposition and a test of a formal theory." American Sociological Review 46, 505-524.
Corrado, R., Roesch, R., Glackman, W., Evans, J. & Ledger, G. (1980). "Lifestyles and personal victimization: A test of the model with Canadian survey data." Journal of Crime and Justice 3, 129-139.
Cromwell, Paul, Olson, James & Avary, D.W. (1991). Breaking and entering: An ethnographic analysis of burglary. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage.
Eck, John. (1994). Drug markets and drug places: A case-control study of the spatial structure of illicit drug dealing. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Maryland.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Eck, John & Weisburd, David. (1995). Crime and place. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.
Fattah, Ezzat. (1993). The rational choice/opportunity perspectives as a vehicle for integrating criminological and victimological theories. In Ronald Clarke & Marcus Felson (Eds.), Routine activity and rational choice. Advances in criminological theory, vol. 5. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Felson, Marcus. (1983). Ecology of crime. In S. Kadish (Ed.), Encyclopedia of crime and justice.
Felson, Marcus. (1986). Linking the criminal choices, routine activities, informal control, and criminal outcomes. In Derrick Cornish & Ronald Clarke (Eds.), The reasoning criminal: Rational choice perspectives on offending. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Felson, Marcus. (1987). "Routine activities and crime prevention in the developing metropolis."Criminology 25(4), 911-931.
Felson, Marcus. (1994). Crime and everyday life: Insights and implications for society. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press.
Felson, Marcus. (1995). Those who discourage crime. In John Eck & David Weisburd (Eds.), Crime and place. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Felson, Marcus & Gottfredson, Michael. (1984). "Social indicators of adolescent activities near peers and parents." Journal of Marriage and the Family 46, 709-714.
Garofalo, James. (1987). Reassessing the lifestyle model of criminal victimization. In Michael Gottfredson & Travis Hirschi (Eds.), Positive criminology. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage.
Godschalk, David & Godschalk, Lallie. (1966). A study of household activity patterns in Titusville, Florida. Tallahassee, Flor.: The Florida State University, Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Urban Research Center, Institute for Social Research.
Goldstein, Arnold. (1994). The ecology of aggression. New York: Plenum Press.
Gottfredson, Michael. (1984). Victims of crime: The dimensions of risk. Home Office Research Study No. 81, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London.
Hindelang, Michael, Gottfredson, Michael & Garofalo, James. (1978). Victims of personal crime: An empirical foundation for a theory of personal victimization. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger.
Hough, Mike. (1987). "Offenders' choice of targets: Findings from victim surveys." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3(4), 355-370.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. (1979). Spatial and temporal analysis of crime: Users manual/technical manual. Chicago, Illin.: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, State of Illinois.
Kennedy, Leslie & Baron, Stephen. (1993). "Routine activities and a subculture of violence: A study of violence on the street." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30(1), 88-112.
Kennedy, Leslie & Forde, David. (1990). "Risky lifestyles and dangerous results: Routine activities and exposure to crime." Sociology and Social Research: An International Journal 74(4), 208-211.
Lasley, James & Rosenbaum, Jill. (1988). "Routine activities and multiple personal victimization." Sociology and Social Research: An International Journal 73(1), 47-50.
LeBeau, James & Corcoran, W. (1990). "Changes in calls for police service with changes in routine activities and the arrival and passage of weather fronts." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 6, 269-291.
LeBeau, James & Coulson, Richard. (1996). "Routine activities and the spatial-temporal variation of calls for police service: the experience of opposites on the quality of life spectrum." Police Studies 19(4), 1-14.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Massey, James, Krohn, Marvin & Bonati, Lisa. (1989). "Property crime and the routine activities of individuals." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 26(4), 378-400.
Maxfield, Michael. (1987). "Lifestyle and routine activity theories of crime: Empirical studies of victimization, delinquency, and offender decision-making." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3(4), 275-282.
Miethe, Terance, Stafford, Mark & Long, J. Scott. (1987). "Social differentiation in criminal victimization: A test of routine activities / lifestyle theories." American Sociological Review 52, 184-194.
Moriarty, Laura & Williams, James. (1996). "Examining the relationship between routine activities theory and social disorganization: An analysis of property crime victimization." American Journal of Criminal Justice 21(1), 43-59.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Riley, David. (1987). "Time and crime: The link between teenager lifestyle and delinquency." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3(4), 339-354.
Robinson, Matthew. (1994). Environmental characteristics associated with residential burglaries of private apartment complexes predominantly occupied by university students. Master's Thesis: Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Robinson, Matthew. (1997b). Lifestyles, routine activities, and residential burglary victimization. Ph.D. Dissertation: Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Robinson, Matthew & Christine Robinson. (1997). "Environmental characteristics associated with residential burglary." Environment and Behavior 29(5), 657-675.   - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Roncek, Dennis & Maier, Pamela. (1991). "Bars, blocks, and crimes revisited: Linking the theory of routine activities to the empiricism of 'hot spots.'" Criminology 29(4), 725-753.
Rosenbaum, Dennis & Lavrakas, Paul. (1995). Self-reports about place: The application of survey and interview methods to the study of small areas. In John Eck & David Weisburd (Eds.), Crime and place. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.
Roundtree, Pamela & Land, Kenneth. (1996). "Burglary victimization, perceptions of crime risk, and routine activities: A multilevel analysis across seattle neighborhoods and census tracts." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 33(2), 147-180.
Sampson, Robert & Wooldredge, John. (1987). "Linking the micro- and macro- level dimensions of lifestyle-routine activity and opportunity models of predatory victimization." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 3(4), 371-393.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Sherman, Lawrence. (1995). Hot spots of crime and criminal careers of place. In John Eck & David Weisburd (Eds.), Crime and place. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.
Sherman, Lawrence, Gartin, Patrick & Buerger, Michael. (1989). "Hot spots of predatory crime: Routine activities and the criminology of place." Criminology 27(1), 27-55.
Smith, S. (1982). "Victimization in the inner city." British Journal of Criminology 22(2), 386- 402.  - Lifestyle exposure theory.
Tunnell, K. (1994). Choosing crime: The criminal calculus of property offenders. Chicago, Illin.: Nelson-Hall Publishers.
Weisburd, David. (1997). Reorienting crime prevention research and policy: from the causes of criminality to the context of crime. National Institute of Justice Research Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Wright, Richard & Decker, Scott. (1994). Burglars on the job: Streetlife and residential break- ins. Boston, Mass.: Northeastern University Press - Lifestyle exposure theory.