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NCJ Number: 136376 Find in a Library
Title: Differential Association Theory Reconsidered: An Extension and Its Empirical Test
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:special issue (March 1992)  Pages:29-49
Author(s): G J N Bruinsma
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 21
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An empirical test of an expanded version of Sutherland's differential association theory is presented based on data for 1,196 boys and girls.
Abstract: Sutherland's theory has several starting points: search for a universal explanation of crime, interaction between the individual and the social environment, interest in cultural and macrosocial conflicts and their consequences for the individual, and the idea that crime is learned. In 1974, the German methodologist, Karl-Dieter Opp, expanded Sutherland's theory and introduced several new variables related to the intensity of norms regulating deviance, opportunities for committing crime, and the intensity of needs. Differential association theory, according to Opp's version, was fairly well corroborated by data from the 1,196 juveniles. The theory explained 51 percent of the variance in criminal behavior. The empirical test also showed that the impact of the frequency of contacts with deviant behavior patterns on the development of positive definitions and on the frequency of communication about relevant techniques was substantial. The deviance of others had the most significant impact: the more youth had contact with their friends, the stronger the effect of their friends' deviance on the development of positive definitions and on the frequency of communication about techniques. In addition, the empirical test showed that the more youth identify with others, the stronger will be the impact of others' deviance on their norms. The results support the modification of differential association theory according to Opp and falsify some propositions of social control theory. An appendix contains supporting data. 55 references, 3 tables, and 1 figure
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prediction; Sutherland's theory
Index Term(s): Deviance; Juvenile delinquency factors; Social control theory
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