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NCJ Number: 208337 Find in a Library
Title: Girl Friends are Better: Gender, Friends, and Crime Among School and Street Youth
Journal: Criminology  Volume:42  Issue:4  Dated:November 2004  Pages:805-835
Author(s): Bill McCarthy; Diane Felmlee; John Hagan
Date Published: November 2004
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored the relationship between female friendships and offending behavior.
Abstract: In recent years the research literature, as well as the popular media, has focused on “mean girls” and how adolescent girls use relational forms of aggression, particularly against their female peers. While this research has been beneficial in exploring previously understudied aspects of female aggression, it neglects the potentially beneficial aspects of friendships among adolescent girls. The current study explored the hypothesis that, in comparison to friendships with males, friendships with females provide greater social control, fewer opportunities, and less motivation for offending, and thus work to discourage criminal behavior. Cross-sectional self-report data from a sample of 563 high school youth in Toronto were used to probe the relationship between the gender composition of intimate friendship networks and involvement in property crime. Self-report survey data were also gathered from a sample of 390 street youth in Toronto to explore how context, in this case homelessness, impacted the relationship between gender composition of close friends and property crime. Results of regression analyses indicated that female-dominated friendship networks were associated with lower levels of property crime for both school and street females. This relationship was weaker, yet still significant, for school males involved in friendships with females. No relationship between gender composition of friendship network and crime was noted for street males. Future research should continue to assess the contribution of friends’ gender to crime through panel data on the origins of friendship and the onset of offending. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Gender issues; Social network analysis
Index Term(s): Canada; Juvenile delinquency; Property crimes
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