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Sytske Besemer

Post-Doctoral Scholar

SYTSKE BESEMER works at the interface of developmental psychology and criminology, with her research focused on processes of intergenerational transmission as well as the impact of criminal justice policies. She is currently working with Professor Jennifer Skeem on a study of self-perceptions of violence, investigating the accuracy of patients’ self predictions of violence risk with that of clinical judgment and two clinically feasible actuarial tools.

In addition to her postdoctoral research at Berkeley Social Welfare, Dr. Besemer is conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of intergenerational transmission of crime. As part of this research, she investigates to what extent parental criminal behavior is associated with children’s later crime and to what extent these associations vary across different countries and societies and/or according to different national crime policies.

Moreover, Dr. Besemer explores associations between parental and children's outcomes moderated by the child's gender, maternal versus paternal crime, child age at parental criminal behavior and age at outcome measurement. She also investigates intergenerational transmission in Sweden, and, looking at the opposite relation, she investigates bidirectionality by examining how a son’s problem behavior influences maladaptive parenting.



  • Developmental Psychology and Criminology
  • Processes of Intergenerational Transmission
  • Criminal Justice Policies
  • Self-Perceptions of Violence

Expanded Publications

Besemer, S., & Murray, J. (forthcoming). Incarceration and Development of Delinquency. In T.P. Beauchaine and S.P. Hinshaw (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Externalizing Spectrum Disorders: A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.

Besemer, S., & Murray, J. (forthcoming). Prison as an Environmental Pathogen. In M. DeLisi & M.G. Vaughn (eds.) Handbook for Biosocial Criminology. Routledge.

Besemer, S. (forthcoming) Intergenerational Transmission of Violence. C.J. Schreck, M.J. Leiber, K. Welch, H. Ventura Miller (Eds). Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice. Wiley-Blackwell.

Van de Weijer, S., Besemer, S., & Augustyn, M.B. (forthcoming). Intergenerational transmission. In A.A.J. Blokland & V.R. van der Geest (eds). International Handbook on Criminal Careers and Life Course Criminology. Routledge.

Van de Weijer, S., Besemer, S., Blokland, A.A.J., & Bijleveld, C.C.J.H. (forthcoming). The Concentration of Sex Offenses within British and Dutch Families. In A.A.J. Blokland & P. Lussier (eds.) Sex Offenders: A Criminal Career Approach. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Bijleveld, C.C.J.H., Van de Weijer, S., Besemer, S., & Huschek, D. (forthcoming). Parental imprisonment and offspring outcomes: a study on offending and marriage chances. In J. Murray, C.C.J.H. Bijleveld, & R. Loeber (Eds). Effects of parental incarceration on children: Cross-national comparative studies. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Besemer, S. (2014). The impact of timing and frequency of parental criminal behaviour and risk factors on offspring offending. Psychology, Crime, and Law, 20, 78-99.

Besemer, S., Farrington, D.P., & Bijleveld, C.C.J.H. (2013). Official bias in intergenerational transmission of crime. British Journal of Criminology, 53, 438-455.

Besemer, S. (2012). Intergenerational transmission of criminal and violent behaviour. Leiden: Sidestone Press.

Besemer, S. and Farrington, D.P. (2012). Intergenerational transmission of criminal behaviour: conviction trajectories of fathers and their children. European Journal of Criminology, 9, 120-141.

Besemer, S. (2012). Specialized versus versatile intergenerational transmission of violence. A new approach to studying intergenerational transmission from violent versus non-violent fathers: Latent Class Analysis. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 28, 245-263.

Averdijk, M.D.E., Besemer, S., Eisner, M.P., Ribeaud, D., & Bijleveld, C.C.J.H. (2011). The relationship between quantity, type, and timing of external childcare and child problem behaviour in Switzerland. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 8 (6), 637-660.

Besemer, S., Geest, V. van der, Murray, J., Bijleveld, C.C.J.H., & Farrington, D.P. (2011). The relationship between parental imprisonment and offspring offending in England and the Netherlands. British Journal of Criminology, 51, 413-437.

Eisner, M., Murray, J., Ribeaud, D., Topcuoglu, T., Kazemian, L., & Besemer, S. (2009). The event history calendar as an instrument for longitudinal criminological research. Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform (Special issue: International Longitudinal Research in Criminology), 92 (2/3), 137-159.