Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, Juvenile Delinquency, Measurement, Quantitative Methods


Dr. Ward's research focuses on addressing critical research problems in two overarching and complementary areas: developmental and life-course criminology and measurement of criminological constructs.

First, Jeff's research takes a developmental and life-course approach to understand stability and behavior change, including through specifying the direct, indirect, and moderating roles that social (e.g., peer influence, gang involvement), psychological (e.g., self-control, identity), health (e.g., physical health, depression), role attainment (e.g., employment), and system influences (e.g., labeling, procedural justice) play in these processes. As a collective, this research has investigated antisocial behavior that spans different developmental periods, from quantifying the effects of maternal smoking in utero on externalizing behaviors in young children, to the long-term consequences of adolescent gang involvement on adult development, to the deleterious consequences of poor physical and mental health for reentry success and desistance. This body of research has employed a wide range of quantitative methods such as random-intercept cross-lagged panel models, finite mixture models, and integrated methods (e.g., group-based trajectories with propensity score matching), with each method carefully selected to directly address the research problem at hand.

Second, Dr. Ward's research critically evaluates proposed and existing measures of criminological constructs, setting the groundwork for improved measurement in criminology. Rooted in psychometrics and measurement theory, his work helps to ensure that measures adequately reflect criminology’s key constructs and to clarify the implications of measurement decisions for empirical tests of criminological theories. Utilizing structural equation, multilevel structural equation, and item response models, these works have added to measurement debates centered on the constructs of self-control, peer delinquency, disorder/incivilities, and crime.

Dr. Ward is leading a Temple University team of scholars completing a mixed-methods evaluation of the implementation fidelity of prosecutor-led criminal justice reform initiatives in Philadelphia. In work with an interdisciplinary team of scholars from across the country, Dr. Ward serves as co-principal investigator of the first comprehensive national outcomes evaluation of individuals who have served decades in prison and who are now being given a 'second chance' at freedom following the Miller and Montgomery Supreme Court decisions.

His substantive teaching interests include developmental and life-course criminology, juvenile delinquency, and criminological theory and his methodological teaching interests are wide-ranging and include research methods and statistics, item response theory, structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, counterfactual methods, and latent class methods.

Jeff is originally from Maryland and enjoys hiking and fixing things in his spare time. He received a B.S. in Physics and Psychology from Rutgers University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of Florida. He joined the faculty at Temple University in 2015 following four years on faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a past recipient of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowship and the ACJS SAGE Junior Faculty Teaching Award.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

  • Ward, J.T. Link, N.W., & Forney, M. (2023). Mental and physical health, psychosocial maturity, and desistance in young adulthood. Journal of Developmental and Life-course Criminology.
  • Link, N.W., & Ward, J.T. (2022). Assessing public support for collateral and other consequences of criminal convictions. Justice Quarterly, 39, 1499-1523.
  • Ward, J.T., & Forney, M. (2020). Unpacking within- and between-person effects of unstructured socializing and differential association on solo- and co-offending. Journal of Criminal Justice, 70, 101720.
  • Augustyn, M.B., Ward, J.T., Krohn, M.D., & Dong, B. (2019). Criminal justice contact across generations: Assessing the intergenerational labeling hypothesis. Journal of Developmental and Life-course Criminology, 5, 137-175.
  • Link, N.W., Ward, J.T., & Stansfield, R. (2019). Consequences of mental and physical health for reentry and recidivism: Toward a health-based model of desistance. Criminology, 57, 544-573.
  • Forney, M., & Ward, J.T. (2019). Identity, peer resistance, and antisocial influence: Modeling direct and indirect causes of desistance. Journal of Developmental and Life-course Criminology, 5, 107-135.
  • Ward, J.T., McConaghy, M. & Bennett, J.Z. (2018). Differential applicability of criminological theories to individuals? The case of social learning vis-à-vis social control. Crime & Delinquency, 64, 510-541.
  • Augustyn, M.B., Ward, J.T., & Krohn, M.D. (2017). Exploring intergenerational continuity in gang membership. Gangs in a Developmental Perspective, special issue of Journal of Crime and Justice, 40, 252-274.
  • Ward, J.T., Link, N.W., & Taylor, R.B. (2017). New windows into a broken construct: A multilevel factor analysis and DIF assessment of perceived incivilities. Journal of Criminal Justice, 51, 74-88.
  • Augustyn, M.B., & Ward, J.T. (2015). Exploring the sanction-crime relationship through a lens of procedural justice. Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 470-479.
  • Ward, J.T., Boman, J.H., & Jones, S. (2015). Hirschi’s redefined self-control: Assessing the implications of the merger between social- and self-control theories. Crime & Delinquency, 61, 1206-1233.
  • Ward, J.T., Nobles, M.R., & Fox, K.A. (2015). Disentangling self-control from its elements: A bifactor analysis. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 31, 595-627.
  • Ward, J.T., Krohn, M.D., & Gibson, C.L. (2014). The effects of police contact on developmental trajectories of violence: A group-based, propensity score matching analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 440-475.
  • Krohn, M.D., Ward, J.T., Thornberry, T.P., Lizotte, A.J., & Chu, R. (2011). The cascading effects of gang membership in adolescence across the life-course. Criminology, 49, 991-1028.
  • Ward, J.T., Gibson, C.L., Boman, J., & Leite, W.L. (2010). Assessing the validity of the Retrospective Behavioral Self-control scale: Is the general theory of crime stronger than the evidence suggests? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37, 336-357.
  • Ward, J.T., Stogner, J., Gibson, C.L., & Akers, R.L. (2010). A new trick for an old dog: Applying developmental trajectories to inform drug use progression. Journal of Drug Issues, 40, 755-782.

Courses Taught

  • CJ 2401 Nature of Crime
  • CJ 2597 Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • CJ 2602 Criminal Justice Statistics
  • CJ 3000 Crime over the Life Course
  • CJ 4401 Youth and Crime
  • CJ 8105 Statistical Issues and Analysis of Criminal Justice Data
  • CJ 8305 Advanced Statistical Issues in Criminal Justice Data
  • CJ 8310 Developmental and Life-course Criminology