skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 150408 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Changes in Conventional Attitudes and Delinquent Behavior in Adolescents
Journal: Youth and Society  Volume:26  Issue:1  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:23-53
Author(s): S Menard; D Huizinga
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20857
US Securities and Exchange Cmssn
Washington, DC 20549-2736
Grant Number: MH27552
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using a national probability sample, this study considers the contrasting predictions of criminological theories and social psychological theories, self-perception theory, and cognitive dissonance and balance theory toward attitude and delinquency.
Abstract: The data for the study were taken from the National Youth Survey, a longitudinal study involving a national probability sample of youth aged 11 to 17 in 1976. The three measures of delinquency used here include index offending, minor offending, and belief or attitudes toward illegal behavior. The study distinguishes between three types of belief: strong, moderate, or weak conventional beliefs. The role of exposure to delinquent friends in the onset of illegal behavior is also considered. The study takes into account temporal priority and left-hand censoring, that is, the weakening of conventional beliefs or the onset of illegal behavior that occurred before the data were collected. The results indicate that the relationship between conventional beliefs and illegal behavior may one of mutual influence. Some weakening of belief appears to precede illegal behavior, and some illegal behavior appears to precede any substantial weakening of belief. These results are most consistent with cognitive dissonance or balance theory; reasonably consistent with control theories and with reasoned action, planned behavior, and attitude accessibility; and least consistent with self-perception theory. 3 tables, 1 figure, 4 notes, and 58 references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Attitudes toward authority; Criminology; Juvenile delinquency prediction; Longitudinal studies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.