Criminological theories and quantitative studies that test them

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1st Quantitative Study

In society today, adolescent experiences with alcohol and poor academic progress has become a growing concern for correctional juvenile facilitators, and parents. A study on adolescent health within school systems involving middle and high school students, presented a distinguishable difference among adolescents who did appear bonded with either extracurricular activities, involvements, or beliefs. (Crosnoe, 2006) The other portion of the data consisted of adolescents who did not possess bonds to commitment, social groups, and extracurricular activities. This study used calculations provided by the data to associate the “aspects of social bonding and symptoms of general [bad adjustment]” to identify linkage between the behaviors listed; over the duration of a year of secondary institutions. (Crosnoe, 2006) In other words, the link between adolescent drinking and academic failure was measured to determine “who was at risk of for negative outcomes in the short- and long term”. (Crosnoe, 2006) The Add Health representatives utilized 80 high school and 52 middle schools in the study.

After, the filtration process of the applicants commenced, the sample size was left at 11, 927 students from precisely 128 schools. The alcohol usage was measured based on a scale from 0 to 6 (0 being none in the past year and 6, being the nearly every day). (Crosnoe, 2006) In addition to alcohol usage, the other factors calculated in this study were academic failure, opportunity, bonding, sociodemographic controls, and unsatisfied adjustments (also, referred to as delinquency). (Crosnoe, 2006) Alcoholic usages among adolescents and academic failure remained consistent for the time frame of the study. When the family structured appeared intact, students were less likely to engage in alcoholic consumption. Also, students who went to school where the success rate was undeniably low; then experienced higher rate of failure in academic settings. (Crosnoe, 2006) Therefore, Hirschi’s ideology of an individual adopting the social characteristics of group was proven to correlate with the statistical evidence.

2nd Quantitative Study

In the analysis of strain, social bonding theory, and delinquency, examinations were produced on the relevancy on Turkish societies. In a societies where the political ties had noticeable presence, Turkish people showed “stronger bonds “to a society. (Özbay, 2008) According to Özbay, social bonds are associated to “non-conventional factors” which cause the deterrence of juveniles from committing delinquent acts. (Özbay, 2008) The study consisted of data on 1,710 high school students in central parts of Ankara; information was collected in study design of self-reports. The data includes the number of students within three districts of an educational system. (Özbay, 2008) Fifteen delinquent acts were measured on basis of examining the variety of behavioral effects. The independent variable concerning social bonds measured levels of attachment (to teacher’s relationship as well as friendships), involvement, beliefs, and commitments. In the area for total delinquency, Turkish people ranked high in the levels of “indirect family supervision” with parents. (Özbay, 2008) Also, a relatively higher connection was significant to teachers and friends in a school setting. Another significant variable for analysis was income, the effects of financial stability correlated to delinquent behavior within the Turkish community. (Özbay, 2008) The social bonding theory displayed lower class youth were more susceptible to committing delinquent acts; however, the statistical evidence proved as monthly income increases more delinquent acts occur. (Özbay, 2008) The strain variance showed variables such as: monetary strain, education strain and the perception of blocked promotional chances correlate directly to delinquent acts associated to social bonding theories. Empirical evidence, from this study proved the social bonding theory has significance.

3rd Quantitative Study

With the issue of delinquency among juvenile, the concerns have grown on a global level where researchers feel inclined to study the effects on children of various regions. An empirical investigation was conducted on social bonds and delinquency effects on Hong Kong adolescents. The aim of the study was to examine the all of the social bond elements within a “sample of secondary educated Hong Kong students (a total of 1,377). (Wing & Heng, 2012) Moreover, the study distinguished between male and female Hong Kong students within the age group of 12 and 17 years old. (Wing & Heng, 2012)Overall there was a total of 666 males and 711 females, who were selected at random in this survey. (Wing & Heng, 2012) The survey emphasized a strain attachment between the parent and child, during a pivotal time where adolescents develop socially.

The study incorporated three hypothesis for testable purposes. For instance, the first hypothesis dealt with different responses of Hong Kong adolescents to six social bond elements in association to the charge of violent crimes and theft. Hypothesis two incorporated the gender differences in association social bond elements and delinquency. Lastly, the gender differences measurements for Hong Kong adolescents, even after controlling factors were implied account for the third hypothesis. (Wing & Heng, 2012) For hypothesis two the results came as mixed in the analysis of the adolescents. Results of the adolescents Hong Kong students showed that males who participated in organization had been measured significantly high for theft crimes. (Wing & Heng, 2012) The males in the study actually scored higher than female in areas such as: parent dependency, commitment of academic goals, and beliefs in the authenticity of the legal system (fairness). (Wareham, Cochran, Dembo, & Sellers, 2005) Significance in the study, proved research is vital for accuracy of theories.

3rd Theory

Many people often experience a variety of perspectives regarding the law violations, whether to obey them or rebel against the dominant culture. In this section, the differential association theory will be discussed for the purpose of explaining why people succumb to deviant behavior. The differential association allows the transferring of criminal behavior from one person to another through the encounter of acceptability of crime. (Levinson, 2002) A catalyst begins when one individual continues to interact with several people who believe criminal behavior is tolerable. (Levinson, 2002) As this process continues, the affected individual starts to believe crime is the only way to achieve economic success and social status promotion. Furthermore, the differential association theory shows criminal behavior is taught and received similar to any other behavior.

Although, Edwin Sutherland introduced the theory he did not effectively describe the ways differential association learning process works. Scholars, Robert Burgess and Ronald Akers infused the concepts of behavioral learning with differential association to explain the learning process. (Levinson, 2002) Soon after, the combing of the two principles commenced the Burgess and Akers revealed criminal behavior is absorbed more when the deviant behavior is highly reinforced by someone rather than noncriminal. (Levinson, 2002) The presence of reinforcements heightens the probability the criminal behavior is adapted. Those reinforcements can be presented either as a positive or negative aspect of the learning process. For instance, a positive reinforcement occurs when someone is rewarded for the behavior they exhibit. Whereas a negative reinforcement is presented as a way to prevent a person from committing an act deemed unlawful. (Levinson, 2002) Also, the punishments related to the learning process can be perceived as negative and positive. Upon reaching this conclusion, there were four factors established to distinguish learning criminal or deviant behavior. The four factors are imitation, differential association, reinforcement, and definitions. (Levinson, 2002)

1st Quantitative Study

Documentation on gang membership has shown a strong correlation to differential association theory. Gang membership is a global phenomenon that affects adolescents directly. A study conducted on the behalf of Gang Resistance Education and Training program gathered data of 159 eight grade students. (Kissner & Pyrooz, 2009) The particular section of students who attended public school along with a measurement on risk-seeking behavior and impulse decisions. (Kissner & Pyrooz, 2009) The study uncovered measurements dealing with risk-seeking and impulse decisions were accurate indicators of gang participation. Initially, the gang participation scale was on the level of 0 to 5; where 0 meant someone was not in a gang. (Kissner & Pyrooz, 2009) The number 5 meant people were at the center of gang related activities. In relation to differential association theory, the membership of gangs and self-control measures other studies found support to connect differential association directly with membership of gangs. Also, the dependent variable in the study expressed gang membership. The independent variable was the self-control measurement associated to differential association theory. (Kissner & Pyrooz, 2009) The results of the study gave mixed results, due to the calculation for the one tail p-value was done in respect to discovering the self-control data significance.

Nevertheless, the reports calculated data with respects to the mean 4.69 and standard deviation .75. Parental gang membership related to the offspring’s gang membership correlated directly to self-control measures. One can assume that the self-control measures are strong because of immediate gang life principles instilled within the gang offspring. Researchers found significant effects of social learning on an array of criminal outcomes for adolescents. To sum up, effects of differential association and self-control demonstrated mixed results on gang participation.

2nd Quantitative Study

Differential Association theory encompasses the influence one person has on another individual. Also, those individuals in return internalize the values and deviant behavior of criminals. In society today, most adolescents are not confined to a group of people; instead adolescents have an association to a variety of groups. Through interaction on a daily basis the attitudes or even values become invested in each individual a part of the group. This example correlates directly to differential association theory; not to mention, the effects of differential association theory on certain individuals. In a study on peer group and networks, researchers have wondered if the structure has any significant effect on its members. This statement was answered, after researchers conducted a study on a sample size of 90,000 study (random sample). (Haynie, 2001)

Eventually the sample size got reduced to at least 13,000 students in the survey while survey continued over a twelve month period. One of the variables for the study was on fourteen delinquent acts varying from minor to severe crimes. Another variable incorporated the association involved in peer groups which includes peer network, the individual’s position within the group, and the overall level of popularity for the individual. (Haynie, 2001) The results of the study had a mean of 1.72 and standard deviation of 2.31. Ultimately, the data provided for researchers was to show the importance of peer group and the culture adolescents adopt within the group. (Haynie, 2001) The majority of the student participants reported being involved with at least one of severe delinquent acts. The survey uncovered friends who do exhibit delinquent behavior transferred those same attitudes to their peer groups. Research shows delinquency slightly lower chance of being applied to a friend of an adolescent; when the adolescent perpetuates less popularity than everyone else in the group. In other words, people are more susceptible to manipulation if they have a higher up position within the group of people. Thus, brings significance to the differential association theory for the course of the study.

3rd Quantitative Study

For many years, criminologists have proposed the question, where is the future of crime theory going? In order to answer this accurately, one must refer back to the past theories as well as the last theory created. For the final discussion of this research paper, supportive evidence will be presented to show that criminological theories have reached a screeching halt. Crime theories have only been defined, only to be transformed by the apprentices of the founding fathers of criminologists who still have reliance today.

As for the new directions applied, there are inherently present in sociological theories. For instance, the development of Sutherland’s differential association theory transformed into social learning theory and Travis Hirschi used various elements for the adaptation of control theory. Edwin H. Sutherland was able to formulate the differential association theory through a general sociological approach to crime and delinquency. (Akers, 2013) Although, Donald R. Cressy updated the “Principles of Criminology” from its previous editions, he also made sure to “leave the original nine statements of the differential association theory unchanged” since it was a major component of the original theory. (Akers, 2013) This is evident, especially with the social bonding theory because Travis Hirschi combining “elements from all previous control theories” and through his cultivation a unique perspective was brought forth on behavior of delinquents. (Akers, 2013) These example show where crime theory is headed towards in the near future. Given the extensive statistical support from the theories, one can only assume in the years to come criminology theories will only continue to be revamped. Until, a new criminologist or scholar inspires a distinctively contemporary perspective on analysis of crimes. The theories in cultivation will continue to be relevant for the basis of criminal behavior.