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: 228403 Find in a Library
Title: Testing Social Learning Theory Using Reinforcement's Residue: A Multilevel Analysis of Self-Reported Theft and Marijuana Use in the National Youth Survey
Journal: Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:3  Dated:August 2009  Pages:929-970
Author(s): Jonathan R. Brauer
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 42
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Extending measurement approaches in social learning theory, this study included indirect measures of parent and friend reinforcement that incorporate both the assumed product of reinforcement (expected consequences of a specific behavior) and the efficacy of reinforcement (expected influence of the reinforcement source).
Abstract: Results of the study offer mixed support for social learning theory’s hypothesized causal process leading from reinforcement to definitions and eventually to criminal behavior. In an attempt to explain deviant or criminal behavior, social learning theory argues that individuals learn to anticipate rewards and punishments for criminal behaviors within intimate associations where these behaviors have been directly or vicariously reinforced or punished previously. Critics have expressed concerns regarding measurement strategies or techniques often used in social learning research. Responding to these concerns, hypothesized causal relationships among reinforcement, general definitions, and self-reported crime (theft and marijuana use) were tested using a multilevel modeling approach with longitudinal data from the first five waves of the National Youth Survey (NYS), as well as with indirect parent and friend reinforcement measures incorporating both the assumed products of reinforcement (expected consequences of behavior) and the efficacy of reinforcement (expected influence of the reinforcement source). Tables, figures, references, and appendixes
Main Term(s): Social Learning
Index Term(s): Criminology; Deviance; Effectiveness; Individual behavior; Parental influence; Peer influences on behavior; Testing and measurement; Theory
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.