Sociology Ph.D. Dissertations


Linked Lives: The Influence of Parents', Siblings' and Romantic Partners' Experiences with School Punishment and Criminal Justice Contact on Adolescent and Young Adult Negative Life Outcomes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Monica Longmore (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Peggy Giordano (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Paul Schauer (Other)

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Mowen (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Wendy Manning (Committee Member)


In the United States, school discipline remains a central fixture in the lives of students, teachers, administrators, and (by extension) families, peers, and romantic partners. Previous work has shown a robust association between exclusionary school punishment (i.e., suspensions, expulsions) and a variety of negative immediate and long-term outcomes. Much of the previous work, however, fixates on the punished individual, forgoing the role that key network actors outside of delinquent peers play in attenuating or exacerbating these pathways from school punishment to offending. This re-conceptualization lends support from the life course perspective and the potential role that “linked lives” play alongside turning points in altering individual life trajectories. Using the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS), this dissertation examines the connection of formal punishment experiences from family and romantic partners (both school punishment and arrest/incarceration) to both immediate and long-term consequences stemming from individual school punishment experiences. Analyses begin with using regression techniques to test how family punishment experiences impact school attachment in adolescence, exclusionary school punishment, and adult criminal justice contact. Next, analyses focus on the role of romantic partner punishment experiences and test how relationship punishment matrices influence deviance amplification across adolescence and relationship quality. Finally, analyses tests the connection between cumulative network punishments and offending as it differs across race/ethnicity and gender. Full results indicate partial support for this reconceptualization of viewing punishment outside of the individual context. Formal punishments for parents and siblings have the potential to influence the process of detachment from school and criminal justice contact across adolescence and into adulthood. However, romantic partners’ school discipline and arrest history was not associated with increased offending, nor with relationship quality in late adolescence. Cumulative punishment experiences for parents, siblings, and romantic partners was positively associated with long-term offending trajectories among suspended and non-suspended youth, as well as across intersections of race/ethnicity and gender. These findings, while limited, build a theoretical groundwork for future work expanding our understanding of the school-to-prison pipeline, and accounting for additional formal punishment histories within central figures in an individual’s life.