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NCJ Number: 163207 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Changes in Conventional Attitudes and Delinquent Behavior in Adolescence
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: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: MH27552; 94-JN-CX-0001; 94-JN-CX-0002
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study considers the contrasting predictions of criminological theories and social psychological theories that attempt to explain how attitudes influence behavior, self- perception theory, and cognitive dissonance and balance theories.
Abstract: These theories are examined by using a national probability sample that responded to questions about normative beliefs about modes of conduct and about behavior that occurs in natural settings. The relationship between conventional beliefs and illegal behavior is a concern of social psychological theories (cognitive consistency) and criminological theories (learning and control). Empirical evidence from correlational studies has, to date, suggested that illegal behavior influences conventional beliefs more than conventional beliefs influence illegal behavior. The limitations of a purely correlational approach to examining the relationship between conventional belief and illegal behavior are detailed, and the reasons for supplementing a correlational approach with a stage-state analysis of the temporal order of changes in the two variables are explained. Using a stage-state analysis in addition to structural equation models reveals aspects of the relationship between conventional beliefs and illegal behavior that were not apparent from the structural equations alone. It appears that weakening of conventional beliefs usually occurs before initiation of illegal behavior, but once both have occurred, illegal behavior has a stronger influence on conventional beliefs than conventional beliefs have on illegal behavior; and the influence of conventional beliefs on illegal behavior is indirect, mediated by exposure to delinquent peers. 3 tables and 58 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Attitude change; Behavior modification; OJJDP grant-related documents; Youth development
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