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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 211658 Find in a Library
Title: Kids, Cops, Parents and Teachers: Exploring Juvenile Attitudes Toward Authority Figures
Journal: Western Criminology Review  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:2005  Pages:79-88
Author(s): Terry Nihart; Kim M. Lersch; Christine S. Sellers; Tom Mieczkowski
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 10
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using self-report data obtained from middle and high-school students enrolled in a public school in the Southeastern United States, this study examined juvenile attitudes toward the police in relation to other authority figures in their lives, i.e., teachers and parents.
Abstract: A total of 1,029 surveys were completed in the middle school, representing 83.3 percent of the student enrollment; and a total of 625 surveys were completed and usable from the high-school sample, reflecting 33 percent of the student enrollment. The sample was predominantly White (77 percent). The surveys were administered in November 1998. They measured feeling toward parents, feelings toward teachers, and feelings toward the police. Other variables measured were student perceptions of neighborhood safety, being picked up by police for skipping school or breaking curfew laws, social class, academic performance, and respect for the competency of the police in the performance of their duties. The findings supported researchers' prediction that juveniles' attitudes toward parents and teachers would accurately forecast attitudes toward police. Youths who reported more positive feelings toward their parents and teachers also reported positive feelings toward the police; and as feelings toward parents and teachers declined, so did attitudes toward the police; however, unlike the regular and personal contact that students had with their parents and teachers, few students had contact with the police. This relatively infrequent contact with the police engendered a somewhat indifferent attitude toward the police, albeit not with a negative inference. Girls reported higher positive attitudes toward the police and their teachers, but not their parents, compared with boys. Social class was not consistently related to the evaluations of authority figures. 4 tables, 2 notes, and 34 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile attitudes toward authority
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Police juvenile relations; Public Opinion of the Police
Note: Downloaded October 14, 2005.
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