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NCJ Number: 64932 Find in a Library
Title: ADOLESCENT ATTITUDES AND LAWFUL BEHAVIOR
Journal: PUBLIC OPINION QUARTERLY  Volume:38  Issue:1  Dated:(SPRING 1974)  Pages:98-106
Author(s): D W BROWN
Corporate Author: Columbia University Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Columbia University Press
New York, NY 10025
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ANALYSIS OF ADOLESCENT ORIENTATIONS TOWARD THE LAW AND SELF-REPORTED ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES INDICATED THAT PERSONS WHO ARE AWARE AND CONCERNED WITH LAWS TEND TO FOLLOW THEM MORE STRICTLY.
Abstract: SEVERAL RESEARCHERS HAVE FOUND CORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE LEVEL OR CONCEPTUALIZATION ABOUT POLITICS AND CONSTRAINT AMONG POLITICAL ORIENTATIONS. THIS CONCEPT WAS EXTENDED TO AN ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ORIENTATIONS AND OVERT BEHAVIOR BY HYPOTHESIZING THAT INDIVIDUALS WHO FREQUENTLY THINK ABOUT LAW, OR TO WHOM THE LAW IS SALIENT, WILL HOLD MORE CONSTRAINED ORIENTATIONS TOWARD LAW. A RANDOM SAMPLE OF 261 ADOLESCENTS WAS DRAWN FROM SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSES IN A WISCONSIN JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL IN 1971. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INCLUDED AGE, SEX, RACE, OCCUPATIONAL STATUS, AFFECTIVE-EVALUATION ORIENTATIONS TOWARD LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES, AND COGNITIVE ORIENTATIONS. A SPECIAL SET OF 4 ITEMS WAS DESIGNED TO IDENTIFY STUDENTS TO WHOM THE LAW WAS MORE SALIENT. RESPONDENTS WERE ASKED TO COMPLETE A QUESTIONNAIRE TO INDICATE NONCOMPLIANCE WITH A SET OF RULES AND LAWS AND WERE ASSURED ANONYMITY. THE VARIABLES TAPPING POSITIVE ORIENTATIONS TOWARDS LAW AND LEGAL AUTHORITIES WERE NEGATIVELY RELATED TO NONCOMPLIANCE. OLDER STUDENTS REPORTED MORE ACTS OF NONCOMPLIANCE AND FEMALE ENGAGED IN FEWER SUCH ACTS. RACE, PARENTAL STATUS, AND LEGAL NORM AWARENESS WERE UNRELATED TO OTHER VARIABLES. INCREASED SALIENCY OF LAW CORRESPONDED TO HIGHER POSITIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE LAW AND CONSEQUENTLY COULD BE RELATED TO LAW-ABIDING BEHAVIOR. MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSIS WAS USED TO EXPLAIN VARIATIONS IN THE SAMPLE'S NONCOMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW. THE VALIDITY OF THE RESULTS DEPENDED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE DATA ON NONCOMPLIANCE REFLECTED ACTUAL BEHAVIOR OF THE RESPONDENTS. SOME AUTHORITIES HAVE USED THE SALIENCY CONCEPT TO PROMOTE PUBLIC POLICIES SUCH AS BANNING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING BY PUBLICIZING THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Attitudes toward authority; Behavior patterns; Deterrence effectiveness; Laws and Statutes; Public information
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