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NCJ Number: 203810 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Incidents of Discrimination and Risk for Delinquency: A Longitudinal Test of Strain Theory With an African-American Sample
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:20  Issue:4  Dated:December 2003  Pages:827-854
Author(s): Ronald L. Simons; Yi-Fu Chen; Eric A. Stewart; Gene H. Brody
Date Published: December 2003
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Grant Number: MH48165;MH62669
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the relationship between exposure to racial discrimination and delinquent behavior.
Abstract: Data were obtained from the Family and Community Health Study, a multisite investigation of neighborhood and family effects on health and development. Two waves of data were collected in Georgia and Iowa by using identical research procedures, with the first wave conducted in 1997 and the second in 1999. In the first wave, participants were 867 African-American children (400 boys and 467 girls) aged 10-12 and their primary caregivers. In wave 2,738 of the children and their caregivers were interviewed again. In both waves, the children completed 13 items from the Schedule of Racist Events, which assesses the frequency with which various discriminatory events have been experienced. Other variables measured pertained to inept parenting, affiliation with deviant peers, depression, anger, system blaming, and attitudes toward the legitimacy of violence. Complete data for all measures were available for 718 families. Data analysis found an association between the frequency of exposure to racial discrimination and delinquent behavior. Structural equation modeling was used to test various hypotheses regarding the emotional and cognitive factors that mediated this association. For boys, the association between discrimination and delinquency was mediated by feelings of anger and depression, as well as the belief that aggression is a necessary interpersonal tactic. For girls, anger and depression also mediated part of the effect of discrimination on delinquency; however, discrimination continued to manifest a small but significant direct effect. The authors argue that the findings both extend the strain theory of delinquency and indicate the importance of including racial discrimination in explanations of delinquency among African-Americans. Study limitations are noted, and research recommendations are offered. 1 table, 2 figures, and 63 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Black juvenile delinquents; Black/African Americans; Race-crime relationships; Racial discrimination; Strain theory
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