Although routine activities (RA) theory has become a staple of mainstream criminology, little research has critically evaluated the “quality” of the theory. The purpose of this article is to assess the empirical validity and conceptualization of routine activities theory by reviewing individual level multivariate studies that have been published in mainstream journals from 1995 to 2005. First, the empirical validity of RA theory is assessed by examining the pattern of multivariate findings for four key concepts (target attractiveness, guardianship, deviant lifestyles, and exposure to potential offenders). Next, the pattern of findings is examined to determine if they are invariant across time/space/place. Third, areas of conceptual ambiguity are highlighted by identifying variables categorized under more than one key concept. Finally, the theoretical implications, limitations of the current study, and areas for future research are discussed.
Freilich, Joshua D., and Richard Spano. 2009. "An assessment of empirical validity and conceptualization of individual level multivariate studies of lifestyle/routine activities theory published from 1995 to 2005." Journal of Criminal Justice (January): 305-314. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004723520900049X