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NCJ Number: 199886 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Contextual Analysis of Differential Association, Social Control, and Strain Theories of Delinquency
Journal: Social Forces  Volume:81  Issue:3  Dated:March 2003  Pages:753-785
Author(s): John P. Hoffmann
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: 11293
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the effects of variables derived from three delinquency theories: differential association, social control, and strain.
Abstract: The goal of this study was to determine whether some of the key individual-level relationships expressed by these theories varied across United States communities and whether community characteristics condition these relationships. Social control theory asserts that community disorganization attenuates bonding mechanisms by making supervision and interpersonal attachments tenuous. Strain theory states that opportunity structures affect the ability to realize common cultural goals, such as the quest or monetary gain. The differential association/social learning theory proposes that criminal associations and normative conflict vary across community types; it is this variation that explains the distribution of crime rates. The data used were drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), a longitudinal study designed to explore the impact of families and schools on a variety of educational, vocational, and behavioral outcomes. The key explanatory variables were conventional definitions, peer expectations, stressful life events, monetary strain, parental attachment, parental supervision, and school involvement. A multi-level statistical model was used to estimate the direct and conditional effects of the key explanatory variables on delinquency. Results show that, if one uses models that observe a range of diverse communities across the United States, key variables drawn from three major theories of delinquency are equally predictive of delinquent behavior. The results support recent work that indicates that poverty and joblessness at the community level are associated with more delinquency. The value of this study is that it shows the unique impact of individual-level and macrolevel variables on delinquency. 5 tables, 11 notes, 83 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency research; Juvenile delinquency theory
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Environmental influences; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquent demographic data; Research methods; Theory
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