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NCJ Number: 69830 Find in a Library
Title: Structure of Delinquent Values - A Repertory Grid Investigation
Journal: British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(1979)  Pages:263-275
Author(s): N Heather
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Scottish Home and Health Dept
Edinburgh, Scotland
Grant Number: REC/ED 245/24/1
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Repertory grid technique was used in two empirical experiments designed to test hypotheses that delinquents have conventional values which conforming persons suppress except where appropriate.
Abstract: Although many researchers assume that delinquent values differ radically from conventional middle class values, Matza and Sykes argue that delinquent values such as the search for adventure and disdain for routine work are similar to those of the leisure class depicted by Veblen. The present study included two experiments. In the first experiment, 40 convicted British male delinquents aged 16 to 20 were compared with 40 present and past prefects at secondary schools and colleges. Subjects evaluated themselves and eight peers they each selected in terms of eight value statements. In the second experiment, 30 delinquents were compared with youthful employees of a community industry project. Results confirmed the Matza and Sykes predictions. Value systems of delinquent and nondelinquent youth were equivalent in structure and content. Certain observed differences between the groups were attributed to delinquency rather than to socioeconomic status. It was hypothesized that the probability of committing delinquent acts is a function of the relative strengths of dominant and subterranean sets of values. The finding that some delinquents' subterranean values are dominant suggested that Matza's theory may be compatible with subculture theory and other views of delinquency. Further empirical research on availability of legitimate means of pursuing success goals, on status frustration, and on effects of social reaction to delinquency, is recommended. Figures and references (ca. 30) are included.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Comparative analysis; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Juvenile delinquency theory; Juvenile Delinquent-nondelinquent comparisons; Juvenile offender statistics; Psychological research
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