An Interview with Rolf Loeber

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    • 00:00

      DAVID FARRINGTON: This is the American Societyof Criminology, November, 2012.And I'm David Farrington.I'm interviewing Rolf Loeber for posterity.And I thought I'd begin-- Rolf and I have known each otherfor about 30 years.So we're very good friends and very comfortablewith each other's presence.

    • 00:20

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: So I thought I'd begin by summarizing Rolf's career.Of course, he can correct me if I get anything wrong.Rolf came from the Netherlands.He graduated originally in psychology from Amsterdam.Then he moved over to Canada and got his PhDin clinical psychology at Queens University at Kingston

    • 00:41

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: and became a clinical psychologistfor 10 years in Kingston, Ontario.And then suddenly, he made a dramatic change in his life.He left Kingston.He left the security of being a clinical psychologist.In 1979, he moved to the Oregon Social Learning Centerto work with Jerry Patterson.And then after four years there he then moved to Pittsburgh

    • 01:04

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: to become a professor-- an assistant professor, initially,and eventually a distinguished universityprofessor of psychiatry and psychology and epidemiology.So he's been in Pittsburgh now since 1984, I think.And also, that's only a small part of his life,because he's also a professor of juvenile delinquency

    • 01:25

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: and social development at the Free University in Amsterdam.And he also has a career in Irish history, which we'lltalk about a bit later on.So in terms of the highlights of Rolf's career,I think the main highlights, to my mind,are three longitudinal studies that he's been involved in,

    • 01:45

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: which I'll ask him to talk about, and alsowork with our three study groups,which I've have collaborated with him.And in much of this, he's collaboratedwith his wife, Magda, who's been an essential ingredient in allof this.So I'll ask Rolf about that as well.But first of all, the first questionwould be what do you think are your major contributions

    • 02:07

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: to knowledge?

    • 02:10

      ROLF LOEBER: Very hard question.I think in order to know that, one has to probably surveythe quotation index and--

    • 02:19

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Citations.

    • 02:20

      ROLF LOEBER: --see which papers are cited.And I don't know, really.But I think what I was really interested inis trying to understand developmentfrom different angles and different professions.Because criminology's one profession,but I think psychiatry, psychology,

    • 02:43

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: and epidemiology each have unique angles on this.And trying over time to actually have one anglebenefit from the other angles is really a very nice challenge.Because in a way, it's to be talking about different models

    • 03:03

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: that need to be inter-related.And also, how are these different aspects,these different avenues related to interventions?So anyway, coming back to your question.It's hard for me to say what is really the most significant.

    • 03:23

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: I think probably the thing that has the highest consequenceis to study the longitudinal studies because it engagednot only ourselves to a very high degree, and yourself,fortunately, alongside the Cambridge study,which is quite remarkable that you hadso much input with that study.

    • 03:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But what happened is we engaged a large numberof people who all were able to do analysis and advancedscience.So if I think about probably the largest contributionhas been to set a stage for this collective enterprise,engaging other people in ourselves could,

    • 04:08

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: in the analysis of what I think are very good data,I think that's probably the most significant contribution.

    • 04:19

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Well, I think pol--

    • 04:22

      ROLF LOEBER: No, no.Go ahead.

    • 04:24

      DAVID FARRINGTON: I was going to sayI think that the most wonderful contribution is reallycarrying through the three longitudinal studies.I think particularly the Pittsburgh boys' study,where you followed up all those boys from age 7to age 35 with very regular interviewsso it's possible to track their development onetime, to investigate the risk factors over time,

    • 04:45

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: to investigate effects of life events over time.I think that's a wonderful study.And then you managed to continue with a similar Pittsburghgirls' study, which I think is the first time anybody has hadsuch a detailed large-scale study of the developmentof girls over time.So that's also a great achievement.And then also you had the developmental trends study,

    • 05:05

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: which is focusing-- it's a smaller-scale study,but focusing more on conduct disorderand psychiatric problems.So I think all those three studiesare tremendously important.And obviously, I think you're only halfwaythrough your career.But [LAUGHS] what do you think canbe done to ensure that they live on beyond you?

    • 05:24

      ROLF LOEBER: No, that's very nice to say.So the Pittsburgh youth study, the datais being deposited gradually [INAUDIBLE], to data archive.And that is terrific, and OJJDP helps us with that.But it's a multi-year process, because the data--

    • 05:47

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: it's a raw data as well as constructsthat are being transferred, so the constructsare important from the angle of doing analysis.The girls' studies is not yet ready for depositing,and my co-investigators, Stephanie Stepp and AlisonHipwell, are put in charge with me at this stage.

    • 06:10

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But eventually that will be transferred to a national datacenter.And then coming back to the Pittsburgh youthstudy, we-- Magda, my wife, and I have basically arranged tofor Pittsburgh youth study data to be also transferredto the Netherlands, partly because I'm Dutch,but also NSCR in the Netherlands is

    • 06:31

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: the prime or the premier kind of criminological center.And I feel that they can benefit from having such good data.So anyway, that's it making as we speak.

    • 06:46

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Well, I think that's absolutely wonderfulto make all these data sets available for wider use.And it's a wonderful legacy.And I think the criminology-- in particular,you have the Pittsburgh youth study data.As you know, we've just yesterdayhad a new division of the American Society of Criminologyapproved--

    • 07:06

      ROLF LOEBER: It's an achievement.

    • 07:07

      DAVID FARRINGTON: --developmental and life coursecriminology, so we're very happy about that.And I wondered, what do you thinkare the most important questions in development and life coursecriminology do you think should be addressed in the future?

    • 07:23

      ROLF LOEBER: That's quite a perplexing and difficultquestion, as you know, because obviously we needreplication of major findings.And that can be encouraged with that type of organization.But what I'm particularly concerned aboutis how to bridge better the connection between life course

    • 07:47

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: or developmental criminology based on longitudinal dataand interventions.Because obviously, interventions will continue to expand.The interventions will continue to be attaching or attacking

    • 08:09

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: particular problematic behaviors at different ages.The whole issue about what are the data thatare necessary the best interventions has not been,I think, fully resolved.Screening is always an issue.And although we have better screening instruments for olderpopulations, not necessarily-- I think the whole work

    • 08:33

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: on what needs to be done for younger populationsand for girls is still very much open for development.So to connect-- tightening up the connection.And related to that is the ability, actually,to use longitudinal data to model interventions.So the whole issue about taking data

    • 08:54

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: sets and then actually use parameters derived from datato mathematically model to do an intervention on onething versus another thing, or one screen derivinga certain population than actuallydoing the intervention.What are basically not only the effects of that, but also

    • 09:17

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: what are the cost benefits of different strategies?So again, I think that the intervention literature can--that experimental literature can benefit betterfrom the longitudinal data because most interventions are

    • 09:38

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: restricted number of follow-ups have restricted targetpopulations, information, the discarded assessments,and so on.And so I think the longitudinal studies, becauseof their wide variety of assessments,actually provide a kind of building ground,

    • 10:01

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: if you want, for better knowledge.

    • 10:04

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Yeah.I was interested in our homicide that we had the estimates of.Using Pittsburgh youth study data,we had the estimates of the impact of intervention programson the number of homicides in the United States.Is this what you mean when you'retalking about that modeling and trying to estimatethe impact of interventions?

    • 10:21

      ROLF LOEBER: Right, and I think we may onlyhave scratched the surface what I think that eventually,to my guess, would be really a very blossoming typeof enterprise.

    • 10:34

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Yeah, it's interestingthat you relate to intervention, because oneof the things you've always tried to do in your careeris to link up the fundamental developmental literaturewith the applied international literature.And this is one of the aims of our three study groups.So I wonder if you'd like to talk about them.Because I think that that was an aim of the study groups.

    • 10:55

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.Just thinking back about what-- with the tree study groups,we started out with a serious and violent offenders,and David and I ran the study group.And then the second one was on child delinquents.And the third one, recently completed,was on the transition between juvenile delinquency and adult

    • 11:16

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: crime.So why we did-- mean, this is fairly hyperactive to do allthese things--

    • 11:23


    • 11:23

      ROLF LOEBER: [INAUDIBLE].However, I must say I enjoyed the study groups.Although, at times, they were a great pain.You've got deadlines and getting everyone lined upto do the work, and so on.But the important thing, I think, of the study was itwas kind of like an intellectual forum.

    • 11:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: In a way, all of us need input from other people.We need to make sure the different perspectives arepresented.We need to not have all the people that agree with us.But certainly, I think we need to havepeople that can play the game.I think we carefully-- you and I carefully

    • 12:09

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: selected who was going to be on the study groups.And then we basically-- I think whatwas unique rather than compared to an edited book--we had to meet.And we had to say-- we said to them, well,these are the things we need to sort.

    • 12:29

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: How would you do it?And we pressed this on them, time and again, every meeting.And then they started to play around with thingsover and above what they knew.So that was very good.Because, in a way, you had all these great peoplethat work with us.But we asked them to make the next step.And they liked that.And they got really into it.

    • 12:52

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And then with the editing-- and we asked them to write,of course-- but then there was quite a lot of moldingof the text, rather than saying well, you know,it's a nice chapter.We'll put it in the book.We just continued to shape this.And I think the shaking was really importantnot only in terms of quality, but in terms of the topic area.

    • 13:14

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: What is that we really need to know?And you and I had a very close relationship in this,because we certainly complement each other,but also, I think we basically agreed how to do things.So with that agreement between the two of ushow to basically ask people to do things

    • 13:36

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: they've never done before.And that really was set up with these three study groups.And then the other thing that happened, I think,that was fortuitous since I was appointed about 15 years agoin Holland as a professor, I decided that asidefrom a little bit of teaching that I needed to do,that to make things worthwhile, repetitive study

    • 13:57

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: groups in Holland.That put not only the Dutch-European type of dataup on the table, but it also forcedus to think much more clearly-- howdoes this relate to the mostly American findingsor the British findings or the other European findings?So in a way, they kind of mirror of these Dutch study

    • 14:22

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: groups with the American ones.And the last one, they collaborated several times.They met with each other and fired each other on.I think there was a really wonderful, intellectuallyinspiring kind of exercise.And in Holland, the remarkable thingwas it involved professions that were normally not collaborating

    • 14:44

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: with each other.It varies between the professionsare much stronger in Holland than, say, in the US.Anyway, so that's a long answer to your question.

    • 14:54

      DAVID FARRINGTON: No, no.I think you've made a wonderful contribution in upgradingthe standard of Dutch research, actually,by demanding things from them, I think thingsthat they never thought that they could do before.

    • 15:10

      ROLF LOEBER: To be frank about this, really,I think I was a very strong taskmaster.I didn't have to get away--

    • 15:17


    • 15:18

      ROLF LOEBER: --with murder, of course.But things that might have been published in some other venue.But anyway, eventually-- no one killed me.

    • 15:31

      DAVID FARRINGTON: [LAUGHS] No, I think from-- obviouslyI wasn't involved with the Dutch study groups,but from my involvement with the America study groups,I think the meetings were essential.

    • 15:45

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.

    • 15:45

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Because people wouldproduce a draft or an outline.And we would meet and discuss it.And we would make it clear to themthat we demanded high standards.And we demanded something new.We demanded them to address things whichhadn't been addressed before.So it was totally different from an edited volumewhere they would just send off a chapter.

    • 16:05

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, you could go on autopilotand write the usual thing.You know.

    • 16:10

      DAVID FARRINGTON: But again, coming backto what I said before, I think oneof the great things about study groupswas trying to get the implicationsfrom fundamental research for the policyand then go back from the policy to the fundamental research.

    • 16:25

      ROLF LOEBER: And the interventions.We certainly covered interventions as well.

    • 16:30

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Do you think that there was some impactof the study groups on policy?Or do you think there will be some impact of our third studygroup on policy?

    • 16:40

      ROLF LOEBER: I find it very difficult to judge,to be honest.If I ask Bertie [INAUDIBLE], will he would say yes.But he's [INAUDIBLE] about many things.

    • 16:49


    • 16:50

      ROLF LOEBER: I do remember, we developed this slogan.This was with the first study group on serious and violentoffenders.And in summarizing what needed to be done,we had this key, very tiny statement--it's never too early to intervene.It's never too late to intervene.

    • 17:12

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And that actually echoed in various settings.And I've been told, also, in the governmentdiscussions in the US.So that actually-- it's really remarkablehow language is important to convey key decisions

    • 17:33

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: that we-- or key conclusions, rather, that we made.Yes, it is very important to intervene with individualswho may have gone down the deep end, might have beenvery chronically involved in crime, as well as,of course, prevention.So we straddled that, but backed it up, basically,by saying these are the interventions that work.

    • 17:57

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: It was all very much empirically driven.And I think that's how business should be conducted.

    • 18:03

      DAVID FARRINGTON: We always had very glowing introductionsto our books.And we like the latest one from by Laurie Robinson--

    • 18:08

      ROLF LOEBER: Yes.

    • 18:09

      DAVID FARRINGTON: How very interestingour conclusions were, how NIJ would look at themvery carefully, et cetera.

    • 18:14

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.

    • 18:14

      DAVID FARRINGTON: So these glowing introductionsfrom important agency personnel, suggestingthat we have an impact.

    • 18:20

      ROLF LOEBER: We're very lucky with that.And the same, actually, in the Netherlands.The last introduction was writtenby the minister of justice for-- Holland is a small country.But it's still amazing to find someonewho would take the trouble.

    • 18:37

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Yeah.Well, having done the study group on childdelinquients-- that's under 12, really, up to 12,and a series of violent, juvenile offenders.And now we've moved from juvenile delinquencyto young adult crime.Is the next one going to be our geriatric offenders?[LAUGHS]

    • 18:52

      ROLF LOEBER: No, this is a touchy topic.

    • 18:56


    • 19:02

      ROLF LOEBER: No, I'm just joking.But I know that NIJ has a study group on girls.

    • 19:10

      DAVID FARRINGTON: They did.That's right.

    • 19:13

      ROLF LOEBER: We actually applied for it and didn't get it.

    • 19:15

      DAVID FARRINGTON: That's right.

    • 19:17

      ROLF LOEBER: I always thought I was in the wrong gender.[LAUGHTER]I still think-- and looking back at that study group and report.The reporter is valuable, but I would have pushed further.So I think having number two for the study groupson girls and women, I think, is still--there's lots and lots of opportunities to make progress.

    • 19:41

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: The other area that I find appealingis the whole issue of white collar crime.

    • 19:48

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Oh, right.

    • 19:50

      ROLF LOEBER: We, of course, have very good datain Pittsburgh on it.But we found that it was actuallydifficult to finance research on white collarcrime or corporate-- what I call corporate, [INAUDIBLE]type of antisocial behaviors.We tried a few times.And actually, Magda, my wife, had done really great studies

    • 20:13

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: on lying-- because I think it's a central thing--deception, and so on.But if I had another opportunity,I'd probably be a good focus on that.Because it's so central, really.Must crime is of a covert nature.Violence is, of course, just a segment of that.

    • 20:36

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: At any rate, that came to mind.

    • 20:39

      DAVID FARRINGTON: When I spoke to you last year--what you hope to achieve in the future-- obviously,you're still young and full of energy.So I was thinking, what would be your priorities?What, having had these various longitudinal studies and studygroups, what you think is the next horizon for the future?What do you think are the prioritythings that you want to do?

    • 20:60

      ROLF LOEBER: That's a very good issue.I'm in a bit of a bind about that.Because, on the one hand, I find the subjectmatter intensely interesting.And it's not that difficult to think of large numbers of topicareas that we could write a paper on and/or a study group,

    • 21:23

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: as I mentioned, or do other things.And I'm always a good one for new ideas.I mean, both absorbing it from other people,as well as trying to generate some of it myself.However, I'm bit in a bind about thisbecause my wife retired last year.

    • 21:44

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: I like doing things with her, and soif I were to continue until age 90--

    • 21:51


    • 21:53

      ROLF LOEBER: --pursuing this, I think she would feel left out.And our relationship would probablysuffer as a consequence.So the bind that I have is to do interesting things,but not do that totally independent and say to my wifewell, you know, it's now 8:00 in the morning.

    • 22:15

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: I'll see you sometime at 6 or something.

    • 22:18


    • 22:21

      ROLF LOEBER: So the reality of the situationis that I will retire in two years timeAnd then will be emeritus and then Ican do whatever I like to do.So the issue is what can I still do in criminology?

    • 22:41

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And, of course, there's lots possible.I still certainly want to make surethat [INAUDIBLE] of the data setsis complete or near complete.The other thing that I'm really interested in is mentorship.I mean, I think I can still serve as a mentor to a youngergeneration without imposing myself on them,

    • 23:04

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: but basically trying to make sure that theyare landing on their feet.It's something that is very important to me.The Dutch side of my career was much involvedwith students coming from Hollandto Pittsburgh working with us.

    • 23:25

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: We had just, I think, about a dozen or so.And that has been very positive.I think they learned from it.We benefited in the process.So that's something that still can continue.But anyway, it's a bit of a crossroad for me,as you can understand.

    • 23:50

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: So anyway, perhaps we'll come back to this.

    • 23:52

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Well, I think this is a very commendable,your altruism and lodging the dataand developing the next generation of people.But I was going to ask you about-- throughout your career,you've worked closely with Magda.I mean, how has that gone?I can't imagine working with my wife, I will say. [LAUGHS]How did you manage all these 30 or more years of research?

    • 24:14

      ROLF LOEBER: I think it's a mystery.Marriage is a total mystery.

    • 24:18


    • 24:19

      ROLF LOEBER: However, when I worked in Canada--I actually said-- I worked a good number of yearsin the clinic .And I eventually became a marriage counselor.

    • 24:30


    • 24:34

      ROLF LOEBER: And I've witnessed a varietyof shipwrecks of marriages and people in dire straits,and so on.Eventually, I became at dissolving marriages ratherthan trying to bring things together.

    • 24:54

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: So people knew that if you want to have a divorce,you should see me.

    • 24:58


    • 25:01

      ROLF LOEBER: And I'm not kidding.I was the one making sure that women would survive,financially, mentally, with the kids,without kids, professionally, and so on.And I enjoyed that part.It was actually very interesting.And the women were liberated.

    • 25:22

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Once they had conquered their fear,they were very-- they had a better life.So anyway, coming back to my own marriage, why didn't I divorce?The reason is, I think, Magda extraordinary character.She has great strength.

    • 25:43

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: She is very curious-- very, very-- great personto work with.If we decide to doing something, then she does.She executes things.If there are problems, we can talk about it.So the life-- we had good marriage, but before

    • 26:06

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: [AUDIO OUT]--working, which was actually this [INAUDIBLE] that heforced us to work together.So the marriage was good beforehand.It actually became even more enriching in the courseof working together.And also, I think we found very important modus,

    • 26:27

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: and that is as a rule, we stop working at 5:00in the afternoon.So that meant the evenings were very peacefuland were not filled with yet other problems of work.So finding the modus of intense work,

    • 26:49

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: very goal-directed, sometimes quite stressful.And then getting time off to recharge until 8 o'clockin the morning when we met for a cup of coffee.And I would open my folder, because at night, Iwould put all kind of messages in my folders--

    • 27:10

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: this needs to be solved, what about this, and so on.And then we would start afresh in a positive mode.So that allowed us to keep the balance not onlybetween ourselves, the two of us,but also balance for one's self.You need to sleep.You don't want to dream endlesslyabout problems of work.

    • 27:33

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Kind of find a modus that can sustain whatactually was very intense work.So now that meant also that the workday, as a rule,was short-ish.Now I get up early.

    • 27:50

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Just a connection-- in case peoplethink you only work from 8:00 to 5:00,let me tell my story about how one day in Cambridge,at 9 o'clock in the morning in Cambridge,I emailed Al Blumstein and emailed Rolf at 9 o'clock.Both immediately responded, whichis 4 o'clock in Pittsburgh.4 o'clock in the morning.Al was just coming to the end of his shift

    • 28:11

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: and Rolf was just beginning.Because Alan was a late bird who stayed up all night,up till about 4, and Rolf typically got up about 4.So to say you have a short day from 8 to 5, I think,is a little misleading.

    • 28:21

      ROLF LOEBER: Well, eventually-- because I--I am not always getting up a 4--

    • 28:29


    • 28:30

      ROLF LOEBER: --it depends on really-- Imean, I don't have an alarm, so I justget up when I feel like it.And, you know, how energetic I am.I certainly use the waking hours up to 5 o'clock, as a rule,to do work.

    • 28:56

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: That was a kind of-- coming back to Magda,it helped us to survive.I think the problems of executing longitudinal studiesare many.I mean, we employed say, roughly,60 people in the heyday of the study, of the various studies.Lots of personality issues to be dealt with.

    • 29:17

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Financial problems are always there.Grants need to be written and resubmitted,disappointments, new grants, and so on.Very intense.And then, of course, the scholarly thing,the pressure of publishing, the pressureof resubmitting papers and trying to figure out

    • 29:40

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: how to get things working.And the data.The data is so complicated.And trying to guide this whole process of the data becomingusable-- also, at the start, whenwe started data collection, the data collection

    • 30:01

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: was paper and pencil.And that was true for Cambridge, as well.

    • 30:05

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Oh, yeah.Absolutely.

    • 30:06

      ROLF LOEBER: So we seen a fantastic transformationin data collection.Also in terms of making the constructs, the lodging of allthis, the ability to retrieve things-- all of thathas dramatically improved because of the computertechnologies.So we were part and parcel of a gradual self-improvement,

    • 30:31

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: if you want, with the data, and trying to kind of figureout how to reduce the cost of data collectionand use the extra money that was there, then, for other things.So finding-- anyway, a complicated chess play,but very, very interesting.And again, Magda has been absolutely

    • 30:53

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: terrific to work with.She has a great sense of direction, consciousness.And then, of course, she wrote a good numberof papers that proved that she hada great sense of scholarship in her own right.So it's not just executing studies

    • 31:13

      DAVID FARRINGTON: I think she was great at ensuringthe quality of the data.

    • 31:16

      ROLF LOEBER: Oh, sure.

    • 31:17

      DAVID FARRINGTON: And the very high response rate--she contributed enormously to organizing all the datacollection--

    • 31:22

      ROLF LOEBER: Exactly.

    • 31:23

      DAVID FARRINGTON: --ensuring it was a very high quality,indeed.

    • 31:25

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, and so she set the standardsfor the staff.Everyone around her, I think, wasimpressed by her ability to stick to it, so to say,without becoming autocratic.She just wanted certain things.

    • 31:44

      DAVID FARRINGTON: You've been incrediblysuccessful at getting money for the projectsin order to achieve these studiesand achieve exciting research.You must have managed to raise many millions of dollarsfor the studies.How do you do it?What's your advice to other people about how to get money

    • 32:04

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: to run large-scale studies?

    • 32:09

      ROLF LOEBER: Well nowadays, it's,of course, very, very difficult to [INAUDIBLE] studies.We had, also, the time with us.As you remember yourself, we applied first to NIMAH,it wasn't successful.The priority score, and then eventually went to OJDDP.

    • 32:31

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: OJDDP had the national competition.We were one of the three that won.And then, of course, after fiver yearsthey terminated all three projects,irrespective of how well they're doing,and we had to scramble to find alternative funds.So NIMAH made has been very helpful in supporting

    • 32:55

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: the study for a long time.But the time is not right for longitudinal studies any more.They're very expensive.Our budget was easily about a million a year.Now we economized as time went, on but it's stillextraordinary difficult. The girls' studyis more expensive because it's a larger

    • 33:16

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: sample, 2,500 girls compared to, say, 1,500 for the boys.So you need multiple employments.You need to have other measurements.The individuals move to other areas of the world.You need to stay in touch with themand make sure that the cooperation rate is high, et

    • 33:37

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: cetera.Anyway, so I think that we were lucky to dolongitudinal studies in a time period in which the money wasstill obtainable.Also, I should mention this to you,the department of psychiatry, where we eventuallyworked in the University of Pittsburgh,in the Medical School, they hired us

    • 33:60

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: with the following message.They say you need to do big things.Think big.

    • 34:05


    • 34:07

      ROLF LOEBER: Now you are actually alsoinstrumental in the sense that we had discussions,of course, about how large should the Pittsburgh YouthStudy be?And, of course, you was thinking about 411 of the Cambridgestudy.

    • 34:22


    • 34:25

      ROLF LOEBER: I think your advice was clear.We need a larger sample because wewant to understand rarer events, et cetera.So eventually, I think you and Magda and I,we all agreed that it had to be at least 1,500.So that was a very good decision, but also more costly.

    • 34:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But it's an example of thinking big rather than thinking small.We could have done a lot of developmental translating studywith 160 participations, or there about.So the other thing was that the department of psychiatrywas very interested in getting large grants,so you have self-interest there.

    • 35:09

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And they had people in Washington.That helped.So they had their own agents.I'd say that.You see, there's one thing to do a longitudinal study.And I think this applies to the Cambridge study, as well.But the other thing is to actually have

    • 35:30

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: an environment that is stable.

    • 35:31

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Oh, it's essential.

    • 35:33

      ROLF LOEBER: So we didn't have a department of psychiatryor, in your case, institute of criminologythat was going to be there for a few decadesand not going to go through crisisand dissolve and have directorshipsthat become highly problematic.It's impossible to do longitudinal studies.

    • 35:54

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Now this is totally outside of our control, of course.We were very lucky the department of psychiatrywas stable.We, of course, had no say at all in whathappened in the department of psychiatry.But that was the way they ran it.And they knew how to run it.So that's helped us tremendously to state with our job,

    • 36:17

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: running these longitudinal studies.

    • 36:19

      DAVID FARRINGTON: I think it was crucial that you were stable,as well.Both of you stayed in Pittsburgh--

    • 36:23

      ROLF LOEBER: Well, yes.

    • 36:23

      DAVID FARRINGTON: --since 1984.

    • 36:25

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, we had offers to move, of course,as we became a bit more successful.There were offers.But it's actually strange.I mean, financially we could have done much better,probably, by moving.Because every time you move, your salary goes up-- you hope.But we decided to stay in Pittsburgh.

    • 36:47

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But also, we knew that to run the study from the another cityhundreds of miles away or from another country,like the Netherlands, would be enormously hazardous.Because it's really the hands-on type of management,the hands-on data collection that allows us to, I think,

    • 37:10

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: do a good job.

    • 37:11

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Yeah.Well, I think there has to be somebody where the buck stops.At the buck always stopped with you or Magda, really.

    • 37:17

      ROLF LOEBER: Yes, that's right.

    • 37:17

      DAVID FARRINGTON: You have to have somebodythere clear in charge of it.

    • 37:21

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, exactly.

    • 37:22

      DAVID FARRINGTON: What advice do youthink you'd give to young scholars whoare just starting out?

    • 37:27

      ROLF LOEBER: It's very difficult, I find.I think the marketplace now asks for a high degree of knowledgeon specific areas.Like, for example, brain scans.It's a specialist science.You can't just turn into a brain scientist

    • 37:49

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: from one day to the next.So you need lots of training, and so on.But although I think it's a very necessary science,you see also that people get specialized on certain emotionsor certain parts of the brain.And so this tension is really between specialization in-depth

    • 38:11

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: and becoming specialists and the expert and generalizedapproach.And I think it's very difficult. I mean, I try to-- well,not every student that I've had can actually graduate and boasta specialty and a generality, or the broad band

    • 38:35

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: approach to the narrow band.But I think if one were to be a candidateto be were hired by a top university,you need to be able to do both.Now that doesn't mean everyone is to take--and not everyone can go to Harvard.I think that Harvard is necessary nirvana.

    • 38:58

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But I think what I try to instill in the students isto write both very competent data-driven papersand do one or two reviews.And so the reviews, as you know too well--the reviews basically allow you to have the bird's-eye view,

    • 39:23

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: so to say, of the phenomenon.And the broad view is necessary for two reasons.One is to make sure that you don'tlose track of all the small thingsand see the larger picture.But the other thing is the reader wants to know--or many readers want to know the large view.They want to know what is really important.

    • 39:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: All these hundreds and hundreds of variables that we cope with.What is the take-home message thatcan help them to operate better, to have different systems,or understand phenomena, select the theories?You're interested in theories.I'm somewhat interested in.But you need to, at some point, integrate things.

    • 40:06

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: You need to bring things together.Most students take a while to actually achievethat because it's a difficult job.But once they can do it, their citation marks go upand they are more recognized as being.So anyway, so this is a long answer to your question,

    • 40:28

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: but I think there's a big tension therethat is not solvable by only very specific studieson the narrow topic.

    • 40:40

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Well, you've gotan incredible, stellar record of research in psychology,criminology, psychiatry, and allied topics in the US,and then an incredible record in the Netherlandsin similar areas.And they have you your whole other area

    • 41:01

      DAVID FARRINGTON [continued]: of life where you're very well-recognized and famousin Irish history, so I understand it.How do you do it?What's your secret of being able to do all these threethings in the three different countries?

    • 41:14

      ROLF LOEBER: That's a good question.I don't know, really, other than that it's great fun.So what happens is I mentioned that I've stoppedworking usually at 5 o'clock.So the evenings are very peaceful.In the evenings I rummage around.I have a very good working library

    • 41:35

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: on history, architecture, and literature.And I collect books.And I eventually write about other topics.And some of it was Magda.Not everything.But Magda is also curious about many things.

    • 41:55

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: It has been enormously rewarding to do things with her.It's also a sense of discovery.I think what is important in the social sciences remainsimportant in other areas.There are lots of problems that one can investigate.

    • 42:18

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: I might be interested in colonial enterprisesand the occupation of the territories by foreign powersand what happens next.Of course, there are many examples,currently and in the past.I happen to know a great deal about Ireland because Ithink that's my strategy.I want to have at least one country and its-- well,

    • 42:42

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: it's Great Britain in the context,and Europe-- of which I know the source material.Because you need to know where manuscriptsare and put secondary sources.And then bring things together.So in a way, for me, Ireland-- it could be another country.But it happens to be Ireland because

    • 43:04

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: of a variety of reasons.And it's like a kind of an experiment in government,experiment in exploitation, experiment in major changes,both in terms of the population as well and the emigration.

    • 43:24

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: As you know, five million people left Irelandto support North America--and experimentation about how to become independentand how to deal with the cultural heritageof a colonial era.So I'm now involved in the writing of a book.

    • 43:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: I'm editor, the chief editor of a very big bookon Irish architecture.And so I enjoyed it immensely.It's also hard.I'm really standing on my toes.But it's, tremendously interesting.And it's also wonderful to make the trips

    • 44:07

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: to Ireland very focused.Because aside from the documentationone needs for a book, visits to the country houses,to the market houses, to churches, et cetera,et cetera-- the built environment-- it's there.And some of it is in ruins and some of it is gone,

    • 44:30

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: and a large portion is there.So actually seeing it and photographing itand documenting it in a variety of waysis absolutely fascinating.So it tends to be very exciting.So I don't know exactly why I do this other than--

    • 44:51


    • 44:52

      ROLF LOEBER: --perhaps I am a sensation see--

    • 44:54

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Sensation seeking,risk-taking personality, perhaps.[LAUGHTER]

    • 45:00

      ROLF LOEBER: Yes.I could also spend time-- we don't have television, you see.That's part of the problem.

    • 45:05

      DAVID FARRINGTON: That's the secret of your success.

    • 45:08

      ROLF LOEBER: Part of the problem is that we don't get reallythat diverted.We go once a week to new movies, which I love.But anyway, the other thing is, at the end of the evening,I feel good.I don't have a gap that I say oh gosh, this is terrible evening.

    • 45:31

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Most evenings it's really wonderful.And most evenings-- and this is coming backto your question-- Magda and I do something togetherfor an hour.It could be that we look at maps.It could be that we just enter something that needsto be entered in the computer.Or we figure out a problem.And it has been very stimulating.

    • 45:55

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And after that, each of us does something different.So it's enriching.I believe that's the scholarly venture of my life could nothave taken place with all this incredible interactionwith Magda and the incredible interaction with my colleagues,

    • 46:15

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: including you, of course.And so it's a very-- I feel very, very grateful for that,because I think on my own, I probablywould not have done all of that.It's just not sustaining.

    • 46:29

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Yeah, my impressionis that when you go on holiday, youdo your Irish history and architecture,so that's your holiday, right?

    • 46:36

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, but there are also other holidays.I take holidays throughout the year.We sometimes go to Italy or sometimes to Franceor to Holland.So it's not that Ireland is important.It is not everything.No, I mean, frankly, the life-- I don't think I travel,

    • 47:01

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: perhaps, as much as you do.But I'm close to your level.

    • 47:04


    • 47:06

      ROLF LOEBER: I usually go to Europe at least seven or eighttimes a year.And it's fun.That also means something that is really important in my lifeis yes, I have citizenship from Canada and the United States.

    • 47:29

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But I really feel transatlantic, connecting Europe, in a way,with Northern America.And that is a privilege.

    • 47:40

      DAVID FARRINGTON: And what about the library of thousandsof volumes of Irish literature that you sold to a universityin the United States?

    • 47:48

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.

    • 47:49

      DAVID FARRINGTON: The Rolf and Magda Loeber Libraryof Irish Literature.

    • 47:52

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, that has gone to the Universityof Notre Dame.

    • 47:56

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Notre Dame, yeah.

    • 47:56

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.And it's hard to open up space in our--

    • 48:02


    • 48:03

      ROLF LOEBER: --for other things.

    • 48:04

      DAVID FARRINGTON: How many volumes was it?

    • 48:06

      ROLF LOEBER: Oh, about 2,000.

    • 48:07

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Oh, 2000.I thought it was more than that.

    • 48:09

      ROLF LOEBER: No, no.No, no.But they were carefully selected.

    • 48:13

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Rare.Very rare, were they?

    • 48:15

      ROLF LOEBER: Well, yes.Some of-- unique copies, all right.You see, this was a side product of my regular work.Since I travel quite a lot, then Ilove to visit secondhand bookstores and antiquarianbookstores.And I would find books and Magda would read them.And so there was kind of in the production line, in some way.

    • 48:39

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: But you needed to find the books.And so that's very exciting.And I have very, very good memoriesof visiting obscure places and finding--You see, sometimes my memory-- I havea different memory than yours.But my memory is like, for example, Iwould find an usual book.

    • 49:01

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Later, when I pick up the book at homeand I say to myself, where did I find it?And I almost immediately know which store, which shelf,what situation.

    • 49:12

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Amazing.

    • 49:13

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah, so-- I don't have a very good memoryfor numbers--[INTERPOSING VOICES]

    • 49:23


    • 49:25

      ROLF LOEBER: Perhaps my knowledge is less relevant.

    • 49:27

      DAVID FARRINGTON: No, different.Different.

    • 49:28

      ROLF LOEBER: Different.I think memory is a working course in science.Because if you don't have the right memory for things,you can't do it.So I do remember more than just a bookshelf, of course.

    • 49:45


    • 49:48

      ROLF LOEBER: But anyway, I think I would nothave been doing my Irish work if I had not had a good salary.Well nowadays, it's actually reimbursed, but in the past,it wasn't.

    • 50:09

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: It's afforded me to do other things.I mean basically, salary opens up other things.

    • 50:14

      DAVID FARRINGTON: You could be like a gentleman doingthe ground tour in the 1800s.

    • 50:18

      ROLF LOEBER: Yes, I think that wouldhave been OK, attractive idea.

    • 50:21


    • 50:26

      ROLF LOEBER: Even that gentleman would have needed incomefrom an estate--

    • 50:29


    • 50:30

      ROLF LOEBER: --an inheritance, or a rich wife.

    • 50:32

      DAVID FARRINGTON: A rich wife.

    • 50:33

      ROLF LOEBER: It would be wonderful to have an heiress--

    • 50:34


    • 50:35

      ROLF LOEBER: --that crosses your path.Doesn't apply to Magda and me.

    • 50:40

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Just one thing that Iwas going to follow up on, and youwere talking about the difficulties of applyingfor grants, and the fact that often-- sometimes you'returned down.And the difficulties of submitting papers to journalsand often being turned down.I think we should make it clear-- people often say to meoh, surely you don't get articles turned down.Of course I do.Everybody does.

    • 50:60

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.

    • 51:01

      DAVID FARRINGTON: But I think one lesson for studentsof the future is the key to success is to keep trying.And that came through with you were saying that.

    • 51:09

      ROLF LOEBER: Yeah.

    • 51:10

      DAVID FARRINGTON: I think persistence--would you agree that the key to success is persistence?

    • 51:15

      ROLF LOEBER: Absolutely.But there's enormous scope for discouragement.But there's sometimes you have to take your losses, as well.You try intensely for something.And then at a certain point, you should say oh well.I need to move on.

    • 51:38

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And I think this is very interesting from the angleof what one should do at the later stage of one's career--how to expand one's horizons, howto improve-- it is not only students who need to improve.I think it's scholars.Scholars are particularly important.

    • 52:01

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Because they tend to do the thingsthat they used to find useful.And trying to expand that horizon,actually, is quite a challenge.And I think for the better scholars,I think that's my goal.You need to expand your horizon and beable to also have a meaning vis a vis the grant

    • 52:25

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: agencies to move with what is the zeitgeist of funding.Because obviously, you can't always--[AUDIO OUT]--get funding for exactly your own hobbyhorse.So you need to be able to be flexible.But it's an interesting interplay.

    • 52:46

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: It's not a straightforward pulling the bowand getting the arrow into the tiger.

    • 52:52

      DAVID FARRINGTON: [CHUCKLES] So whatare you going to do in the last five years?You say you're going to retire.Surely you're not going to give upall this intellectual contribution to criminologyand psychology and psychiatry?

    • 53:03

      ROLF LOEBER: Well, I probably will be involved in some way.But I have other things I need to do.[LAUGHS]

    • 53:10

      DAVID FARRINGTON: You will then becomea full-time Irish historian.

    • 53:14

      ROLF LOEBER: So no, I mean the architecture book that I'mcompeting with a team of people isgoing to be done in about half a year.And then I want to do a book, and Magda will actuallyparticipate in that, and a third person, a good friend of ours,

    • 53:38

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: on the place of the house in the landscape.Because there are architectural studiesthat look at us the features of buildings,or landscape studies that deal with parks, gardens, landscape,in general.But the bringing the two together,although it seems to be simple idea,

    • 53:58

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: it's actually very complex and very interesting.And it would involve new data collection.

    • 54:06


    • 54:08

      ROLF LOEBER: Of a different kind than in criminology.

    • 54:11

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Tramping across fields, finding out.

    • 54:14

      ROLF LOEBER: Yes, exactly.Going, looking at the ruins, looking at the changed domains,and so on.And also very interested in the role of poetry and literature,in general, and painting-- how that impactedon people's choice about what kind of landscape

    • 54:35

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: they want to create.We're also very interested in climate,because the way that the seasons change, and even during a day,how things look, was often part and parcelof decision making about how to createthe correspondence between house and gardens and landscape.

    • 54:59

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: So anyway, it's a bit ambitious.But then, you know, who knows?I might complete it.

    • 55:05

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Might.So do you have any-- I think we'recoming towards the end of the discussion.Do you have any things that you'dlike to say that you didn't get a chance to say?Any amplifying thought?

    • 55:18

      ROLF LOEBER: Amplyfying thoughts.Well, since this is being videotaped for the--

    • 55:26

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Posterity.

    • 55:27

      ROLF LOEBER: --posterity.But it's also, really-- this is an initiative of the ASC.I just want to say how impressed Iam by criminology as a profession in the UnitedStates.With my own background-- obviously not fully trained

    • 55:48

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: in criminology-- I feel exactly that this kindof illustrious organization.I feel also that it's unique.It's not like a trade organization,where you have membership that you can onlypass after arduous screening and exams.

    • 56:09

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: It's open to different professions.And I think that is amazing.You have here an organization that actually facilitatesscience and application by tappinginto the knowledge of a great variety of peoplewith very different forms of training, openness of science.

    • 56:32

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: And I was thinking, actually, the other dayabout there was this movement calledthe new learning in the 1650s.And people of like Robert Hooke and Hartlip and ChristopherWren were members of the Royal Society.If you think about these people, they

    • 56:53

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: came from very different backgrounds.Some of were architects, others mathematicians.Some were, like Robert Boyle, into chemistry.And these people were actually meeting with each other,like the ASC, different people interacting and actuallycreating a new learning.

    • 57:15

      ROLF LOEBER [continued]: Now that is renewing.And I feel very, very grateful to havebeen included in this outerworld of individuals.

    • 57:27

      DAVID FARRINGTON: Excellent.Very good.Well, thank you very much.

An Interview with Rolf Loeber

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Dr. Rolf Loeber discusses his career in criminology. Aside from this work, he is also a professor of psychiatry, psychology, and epidemiology. Loeber discusses his research, working with his wife, Magda, and his career path.

An Interview with Rolf Loeber

Dr. Rolf Loeber discusses his career in criminology. Aside from this work, he is also a professor of psychiatry, psychology, and epidemiology. Loeber discusses his research, working with his wife, Magda, and his career path.

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