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NCJ Number: 119288 Find in a Library
Title: Self-Enhancement Through Delinquency: A Conditional Test of Self-Derogation Theory
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1989)  Pages:226-252
Author(s): L E Wells
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47401
Grant Number: PHS-T32-MH-14588-07
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: According to a self-esteem model of deviance, juveniles may become involved in delinquency as a response to negative self-attitudes.
Abstract: In particular, self-derogation theory predicts that low self-esteem motivates youths to try out delinquent activities that are aimed at restoring self-esteem. While the correlation between self-esteem and delinquency has been widely studied, the proposition that delinquent behavior can have self-enhancing effects remains uncertain and undocumented. This study examines some conditions under which engaging in delinquent behaviors may boost self-esteem. Applying multivariate procedures (dummy variable regression) to the Youth-in-Transition data panel, the article tests and estimates the combined effects of initial self-derogation and participation in delinquency on subsequent self-attitudes. The results show a curvilinear (second-order) interaction where self-enhancement from delinquent behavior occurs mainly among youths whose self-esteem is extremely low and whose self-esteem needs are unusually high. These effects appear to be quite persistent, enduring undiminished over a one-and-one-half to three-and-one-half-year lag. An additional and unpredicted finding is that delinquency may also show occasional enhancing effects among persons with very high self-esteem. (Author abstract) 4 tables, 5 figures, 18 references.
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Deviance; Self concept
Note: An early draft was presented at the 1987 annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, St. Louis
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