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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 88854 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Theory and Practice in Delinquency Prevention
Journal: Social Work Research and Abstracts  Volume:17  Issue:4  Dated:(1981)  Pages:3-13
Author(s): J D Hawkins; M W Fraser
Corporate Author: University of Washington
JD 45 National Ctr for the Assessment of Delinquent Behavior and Its
United States of Americ
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
US Securities and Exchange Cmssn
Washington, DC 20549-2736
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A survey of 512 administrators of delinquency prevention programs suggests that practitioners do not use theories of delinquency causation as frameworks for understanding the problem and that the services they offer are not closely related to their views on the causes of delinquency.
Abstract: The study mailed questionnaires to a broad representation of public and private delinquency programs throughout the United States which solicited information on the program as well as opinions on prevention methods and major causation theories, including the control, cultural deviance, structural/opportunity, and labeling perspectives. The administrators generally viewed delinquency as socially induced, emphasizing the family's importance in causing and preventing delinquency and the community's role in prevention. The responses also suggested that the educational arena was a promising focus for preventive activities. While these beliefs were moderately consistent with the control and cultural deviance/differential association theories, further analysis indicated that the administrators did not consistently use these conceptual frameworks in thinking of delinquency. Moreover, administrators' views on the causes of delinquency had little, if any, relationship to the types of services offered by agencies. On the other hand, views of delinquency causation were more frequently associated with not providing a service that would be incompatible with an administrator's views. The overall relationship between theory and practice was slightly greater in LEAA-funded programs, particularly between subscribing to structural/opportunity theories and providing services that increased youths' participatory roles. In conclusion, the programs in the survey are unlikely to prevent delinquency effectively because they do not target its underlying causes. Efforts are needed to educate practitioners in theory and current research developments, and funding agencies should require that programs define and address major causes of delinquency. Tables and 23 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Research uses in policymaking
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