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NCJ Number: 69582 Find in a Library
Title: Demographic Diagnosis of Delinquency
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(Fall 1979)  Pages:133-143
Author(s): J Hraba; D Specht; R D Warren; M G Miller
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A demographic diagnosis of self-reported delinquency finds that some delinquency correlates operate differently in different demographic categories of youth.
Abstract: A demographic diagnosis of self-reported delinquency recognizes that delinquency correlates are divided among indicators of social structure and culture, associations on the parts of juveniles, and attitudes of youth. The possible differential effects of all three of these levels of delinquency variables were tested for 1,181 ninth grade students from four high schools in Lansing, Mich., with 52 percent being male and 84 percent white. The study proposed to show that equality exists among regression coefficients measuring relationships among structural, associational, and attitudinal variables and delinquency at various levels of the control or test variable (the race by sex diagnostic categories). This hypothesis was supported. Age, family size, broken home, working mother, and informal contact with the police were found to predict delinquency in a similar way for all youth, in all four sex by race categories of respondents (female or male, white or nonwhite). However, being a youngest child and having a deceased parent(s) predicted delinquency only for nonwhite males. While negative attitudes toward the police predicted delinquency of all respondents, it was a significantly stronger predictor for white males than for the other categories. The structural correlates of delinquency (such as race, sex, and family size) helped to specify the nature of unofficial delinquency. Yet, these variables are virtually immutable to policy intervention. Future research should look into variables that mediate the impact of structural conditions on delinquency and that are more mutable to policy intervention; socioeconomic status, for example, was not a delinquency predictor when age, family size, not living with both parents, and having a working mother were controlled. These findings suggest that researchers should be aware of the possible interaction between causes of delinquency and the demographic context in which that causation occurs. For practitioners, the usefulness of a demographic diagnosis lies in knowing if delinquency causes are different in different demographic categories of youth. About 40 references, 4 footnotes, and several tables are provided.
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Michigan
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69582

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