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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73084 Find in a Library
Title: Study of the Relationship Between Girls' Social Class, Values, Self-Reported and Official Delinquency in One Urban Community
Author(s): G I Berlage
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 369
Sponsoring Agency: UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using police arrest statistics and girls' self-reported delinquency statistics from an urban community, this dissertation examined the impact of changing sex roles and the influence of social class, values, and attitudes on female delinquency.
Abstract: Statistics indicate that when male and female roles converge, female crime rates rise and female patterns of criminal behavior deviate from stereotypes. An extensive literature review covers theories on the causes of female delinquency including the anomie, cultural deviance, and control theories, which explain deviant behavior from the sociological perspective. Comparisons between official and unofficial statistics reflecting correlations between social class and crime are summarized, as is research on the time perspective of different social classes. This study initially examined national FBI statistics for girls under 18 as well as statistics for girls under 16 in an urban community in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Although females were arrested for more offenses in 1976 than in 1967 and the proportion of status offenses had decreased slightly, no evidence of increasing similarity between male and female crime patterns was found. The sample used in 1975 to explore middle and lower class girls' attitudes, values, and self-reported delinquencies consisted of 340 9th and 10th grade girls from a public high school in Fairfield County. Slightly over half were classified as middle class; 86 percent were white, and 13 percent were black. Participants completed anonymous questionnaires during school hours. Social class was determined by the Hollingshead index, which uses educational, residential, and occupational measures. The section of the questionnaire which assessed attitudes and values was based on a study by Clark and Wenninger, while the Short and Nye delinquency checklist was the model for self-reporting delinquencies. Statistical methods including bivariate and multivariate table analysis and path analysis are described. A comparison of self-report data and official statistics indicated that truancy represented a higher proportion of female offenses and running away a lower proportion than was officially reported. Analysis of the questionnaire responses revealed that values were better indicators of delinquency involvement than was social class. Attachment of high importance to middle class values was an insulator against delinquency, while commitment to lower class values was associated with delinquent involvement. In this sample, a girl's relationship to her parents and school was a better indicator of delinquent behavior than were social class or values. These findings indicate that what have been termed social class values are not really class linked, but instead are available to individuals throughout all levels of the social structure. Statistical tables and extensive footnotes are used throughout the text. The survey questionnaire and a bibliography of approximately 150 references are appended.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Crime prediction; Cultural influences; Female juvenile delinquents; Female sex roles; Juvenile delinquency factors; Social classes; Social control theory
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