This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
Juvenile Delinquents are becoming a large concern in the United States today. Today, the year 2012, the United States as a whole are neglecting the kids of the future, the juveniles. Since the economy is upside down many parents are forced to work two even three jobs. Even schools and their extracurricular activities are taking funding cuts. Also many parents can't afford child care or any after school programs. Never the less, divorce rates are also at rise; and if they are a single parent with a less popular career job they really have to be compelled to make ends meet. There are young adults who are at home by their selves, with no one to watch after them or no one to check and see what activities they are undertaking and if they are negative or positive activities. With all this going on is there really time to have family bonding? Is there time to really be concerned about a child being a delinquent?
I know the difference a family setting can make. I lived in a "complete family" for 15 years of my life. A complete family is what the world sees as both a mother and father (or a father figure) with a number of children all living together. However, in the last three years I now know the difference of a complete family and a broken home. My mother is now a single parent and she works two jobs trying to make ends meet for my younger siblings and me. When my mother was at work we got into all types of trouble. We stole bikes, we got into fights, we ran from police and my mother rarely found out about any of those negative activities we were in. it wasn't because we wanted to commit delinquent acts, it was because we didn't have anything else to do. When my siblings and I did live in a complete family setting, we didn't have time to be involved in any delinquent acts because someone was home all the time and we didn't want to get into any trouble. When the economy was better and budgets weren't being cut, we were in all types of afterschool programs and even programs on the weekend. Therefore, we had a full schedule, we didn't have time to play around in the streets and be involved in delinquency also.
According to an article titled, "The Effect of After-School Programs (ASPs) on Routine Activities and Unstructured Socializing," by Amanda Cross (2007) ASPs may alter criminal opportunities by influencing adolescents' routine activities, especially the amount of time they spend socializing with peers away from adult guardians. Research has established a clear link between the amount of time youths spend socializing without direct adult supervision and increased delinquency (Osgood & Anderson, 2004). During periods of unstructured socializing, lack of adult supervision prevents informal social control of adolescents while presence of peers provides an audience for whom delinquents "perform". Preventing unstructured socializing among teens is the stated goal of many advocates for increased availability of ASPs. Responding to a rash of robberies committed by teens a deputy police chief in Fairfax, Virginia stated, "We've got a lot of unsupervised youthsâ€¦ and not enough after-school activities. Where do they go? They hit the street [and] get into trouble." (Washington Post, January 11, 2007). Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said of ASPs, "An after-school program is an extremely powerful anticrime weapon. California and the federal government must commit the resources to keep teens off the streets during the crucial after-school hours. It's a matter of public safety" (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2004). Former Secretary of Education Rod Paige said, "While we know that there are some good after-school programs, we also know that there are not enough of them. Every kid that needs one does not have one. We need more and we need better" (U.S. Department of Education, 2003).
This paper looks at delinquent development, furthermore with the relation it has with Social Bond or Social Control theory and General strain theory. The variables included in this research are as followed: Argued or had a fight with one of your parents, youth had an serious fight at work or school, youth sold illegal drugs, youth carried a hand gun and youth stole or tried to steal an item worth less than 50 dollars. These variables will be used to see if there is any significance to the demographics which are: Race, Enrollment in school, Imputation revised gender, Participate in government assistance programs, and Receive Public assistance. This study is here to understand delinquency and if it is caused do too poor supervision. Some of the theories that will also be looked at are Anomie, Labeling, and Routine Activity. These theories are what are to be believed as the reason why juveniles become delinquents. The main objective of this paper is to form variables that lead juveniles to act in a delinquent manner. This research will help us better understand the causes of delinquency and the solution that can better help the juveniles today. We can limit delinquent acts once we find the cause.
Number of juvenile convictions seems to keep occurring more and more each day. There are five theories that I believe may propose the rise of juvenile delinquency. Many researchers believe that labeling theory, anomie theory, strain theory and routine activity theory may directly relate to the number of juvenile convictions and delinquency as a whole.
What is labeling theory? According to the authors labeling theory is the basic assumption is "perceived negative societal reactions lead to the development of negative self-conceptions and greater delinquent involvement," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 171). In the labeling theory the theorists have "stressed the importance of both formal and informal labeling," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 171). As stated in this article, the difference between formal and informal is as followed: "formal labels are those obtained through contact with social control agencies, whereas informal labels are generated by parents, teachers, and peers," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 171). Which group is more effective formal or informal? The authors stated that the social control agencies are believed to "stigmatize" juveniles.
According to the article titled "Labeling and delinquency," by Mike S. Adams, Craig T. Robertson, Phyllis Gray-Ray and Melvin C. Ray (2003), they believe that labeling juveniles can lead to delinquency; which will eventually make the number of juvenile convictions rise. The authors believe that juveniles and people in general become "stabilized in criminal roles when they are labeled as criminals," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 174). When people constantly here that they are a delinquent then they start to play the part. The article goes on to explain Lemert (1951) basis of this theory. There are "three groups of significant others included in the models were parents, teachers, and peers. Teachers and peer labeling were the only significant predictors of general and serious delinquency," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 182). It is safe to say that delinquents seem to react negatively to what their teachers and peers tell them. "Parents, as opposed to teachers and peers, are more inclined to react inclusively instead of exclusively to primary deviance," (Adams, Robertson, Gray-Ray, and Ray, 2003, p. 182). The labeling theory is not the only theory based on juvenile convictions. Based on the Cambridge Study this data set goes further than just the labeling theory.
The anomie theory was originated though Merton, Rosenfeld and Messner. The anomie theory is typically known as the "American dream strain." This theory however also relates to juveniles as well. When someone cannot obtain their American dream the correct way they then turn to a delinquent and deviant lifestyle. According to the text book, Criminological Theories: Introduction, evaluation, and Application, by Akers and Sellers (2009); they explained the anomie theory as particularly focuses on economic, political, family, and educational institutions (p. 195). From this we can assume that many delinquents become delinquents based on the failure of the American dream from both their family and them. This can be caused by educational failure. Looking at the article titled, "Social Structure and Anomia in a small city," the authors stated that the anomie theory can reflect on delinquency in the school setting (Mizruchi, 1960).
Strain/ General Strain Theory
The definition to the strain theory is simple. According to Agnew and White (1992), they explained strain theory as "when individuals cannot obtain success goals, they experience strain or pressure" (p. 476). Under certain conditions, they are likely to respond to strain through criminal behavior, (Agnew and White, 1992). "Adolescents are pressured into delinquency by the negative affective states-most notably anger and related emotions-that result from these negative relationships" (Agnew and White, 1992, p. 476).
Strain theory is directly related to delinquency and can be explained as followed: "adolescents learn delinquent values from others, receive reinforcement from delinquency, and are exposed to delinquent models" (Agnew and White, 1992, p.476). Adolescents come from delinquency in a fundamental way; this theory focuses on negative relationships and to argue that adolescents are pressured into delinquency too (Agnew and White, 1992). Lastly, "according to Agnew, strain is the most likely to lead to delinquency when (1) the constraints to nondelinquent coping are high and the constraints to delinquent coping are low and (2) the adolescent has a disposition from delinquent coping" (Agnew and White, 1992, p. 477). "A wide range of variables affect the constraints to coping and the disposition to delinquency, including the adolescent's temperament, problem-solving skills, self-efficacy, self-esteem, level of conventional social support, attributions regarding the cause of strain with delinquent peers," (Agnew and White, 1992, p.477)
Environmental Routine Activity Theory
Guardians play a large role in the theory of environmental routine activity. "The absence of a formal or informal guardian who could help deter potential offenders" (Akers and Sellers, 2009, p. 35). Encounters happen in a situation where there are no effective guardianship are present. The article titled, "Unstructured socializing and rates of delinquency" by Osgood and Anderson (2004) believe that "although it is individual adolescents who engage in delinquent behavior, delinquency is not strictly an individual-level phenomenon" (p. 519). Osgood and Anderson (2004) stated that "s neighborhood might be plagued by delinquency because a high proportion of its youth have risk-prone personalities (p. 520). The example used in the article was as followed: "for instance, a neighborhood's high rate of delinquency could stem from a shared norm encouraging it, such as if residents generally agreed that fighting and stealing are good ways for adolescent males to prove their manhood" (Osgood and Anderson, 2004, p. 520). All in all, "they found that controlling for peer delinquency did not reduce the relationship of unstructured socializing with delinquency, and the strength of the relationship did not depend on having delinquent peers. Indeed delinquency was as strongly related to unstructured socializing as it was to peer delinquency" (Osgood and Anderson, 2004, p. 521). Routine activity theory relates to the environment of the juvenile as opposed to just the characteristic of the juvenile.
Social Bond Theory
Travis Hirschi's conceptualized control theory suggests that social bonds serve as the primary inhibitors to delinquency and that personality-based self-control (PBSC) is not relevant. He also indicates that the number of inhibitors, multiplied by their salience, influences the perceived costs of delinquency. (Intavia, Jones and Piquero, 2004, p.1182). Official and self-report studies over a long period of years show that involvement in delinquent behavior tends to be a companionate activity. In theoretical writing for the last fifty years the influence of companions has been seen as an important source of delinquency involvement. A crucial aspect of the influence peers are thought to exert is the nature and quality of the bond between the young person and his associates. The prevailing view has held that the more closely the young person is tied to delinquent associates the more likely it is that he will be involved in delinquent behavior. Recent research has brought this view into question. Current delinquency theories also disagree as to why ties to peers should be either weak or strong. Cultural and subcultural delinquency theories suggest that weakened or non-existent ties to conventional adults (e.g. parents, teachers) lead to greater reliance on, and strengthening of bonds to, peers. (Chapman, 1986, p. 479).
A study by conducted by Johnson, Jang, Larson, and Li (2001) examined the social bond theory. Four variables from the bonding theory were included attachment to family, beliefs, attachment, and commitment to school. Another variable included was peer association with delinquency. This variable is considered to be under the social learning theory. According to the authors, "The effects of religiosity on delinquency are found independent of the theoretical and statistical controls while being partly mediated by nonreligious variables of a social control and socialization. They also find some evidence of bidirectional causal relationships between religiosity and other predictors of delinquency." (Johnson, Jang, Larson, & Li, 2001, p. 22). For this study the authors used second-hand data from the National Youth survey. Therefore, this makes it so that the study is limited; it was unable to determine why religiosity has a deterring effect. The authors are not sure on whether it is because of shame or if it strengthens their moral values (Johnson, Jang, Larson, & Li, 2001).
A study conducted by Wallace, Moak, and Moore (2005) examines effects of religiosity on delinquency in schools. The study was conducted on youths in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade living in a rural southern county. According to the authors, "Finding indicate that social control theory was moderately successful in explaining school delinquency, while religion achieved significance in the 6th, 8th, and 12th grades, but not in the 10th grade" (Wallace, Moak, and Moore, 2005, p. 217). Since the study was only conducted in a rural southern county, there is no proof that these findings could also be applied the rest of society. What might be true for the south might differ in the north. Also urban communities might be different than rural communities.
Theoretical Framework, Hypotheses, and Path Model
In the past, research has shown that the relationship between juvenile convictions and delinquency was based on risk factors like educational failure and a lack of supervision. In this paper we will look at different Studies in delinquent development. Routine activity theory (Felson and Cohen), labeling theory (Becker and Lemert), Anomie theory (Merton), and Strain (Cohen and Agnew) and how they directly relate to juvenile Delinquency. The demographics in this study are Gender (male or Female), Race (White and Non-white), Enrollment in school, Participation in one or more government assistance program and if public assistance was received All in all, for this study there are six independent variables and five demographics to show any significance delinquency.
During the 1960s, Felson and Cohen developed the Routine activity theory which was first developed to clarify the rise in crime in the 1960s. This theory is to explain why crimes occur. They concluded that crime occurs because things are not well guarded and the lack of capable guardianship.
The labeling theory by Becker and Lemert in the 1960s outlined why a person engages in crime and delinquency. They concluded that at some point someone labeled him or her as a criminal, deviant, or delinquent. Lemert (1962), they stated that "people become stabilized in criminal roles when they are labeled as criminals" (p. 7).
Strain theory (Cohen and Agnew) is based on the belief that "when people cannot obtain success goals they experience strain or pressure." Strain can lead to crime because they believe they will not obtain their goal; whether its education, money, or social status. Similar to the strain theory is the anomie theory. Merton, Rosenfeld, and Messner all believed that if the American dream goal was to obtain then that can cause delinquency in juveniles. Merton (1938) believe that people engages in crime, deviance, or delinquency as a way of adapting to social inequality. All the following theories above relate specifically to the demographic variables in this study.
In this research there are a number of hypotheses. The following hypotheses have been developed from the theories stated above and will be tested in this research. Past research and theories help develop these hypotheses. They hypotheses are as followed:
H1: Juveniles with no Father figure in household are more likely to be delinquent.
H2: Juveniles that find a thrill out of doing dangerous things are more likely to be delinquent.
H3: Juvenile delinquents who participate in Religious activities are less likely to be delinquent than a juvenile delinquent who do not participate in any activities.
H4: Males are more likely than females to be delinquent.
H5: Juveniles who received government help are more likely to be delinquent.
H6: Juveniles who participate in drug acts are more likely to be delinquent.
H7: Juveniles of the "other" race are more likely to be delinquent.
Data for this study represents a subset of 12 to 17 year old subjects from the 2007 National Survey on drug Use and Health. A multistage area probability sample was used for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2007 sample was stratified on three levels: census tracks, state, and as a reporting variable. The universe represented by the study includes 12 and older within the population. Including, non-institutional group quarters such as college dormitories, group homes, shelters, rooming houses, and civilians dwelling on military installations. The universe represented excludes institutionalized population.
The data was then modified to include only juveniles that have reported being delinquent. Subjects that have not reported being delinquent are considered to non-problematic, while subjects that have reported to be delinquent are assumed to be at risk. Therefore the sample size came to total 18,678 subjects. This sub-sample will not reflect the general population because it has been modified to only report juveniles that have been delinquent. Table one reflects the demographic characteristics of the sample.
Table 1. Operationalization of Variables
Likely to test yourself by doing risky things
Father in household
Number of Delinquent acts
Operation and Measurement
The dependent variable in this study is measured in a 5 item Index on the number of delinquent acts. The Index includes the variables of: Stolen/tried to steal anything worth > $50, Argued/had a fight with at least one of your parents, gotten into a serious fight at school or work, carried a handgun, and sold illegal drugs. The mean for the index is
The justification behind this is that if juveniles have participated in any of these delinquent variables it is an indicator of Delinquency. The dependent variables within the index are not activities that your average teenager will participate in. So therefore it indicates that the teenager has a delinquency issue.
The independent variables a include father in house hold, Get a real kick out of doing of dangerous thing, Number of other acts participated in past year, number of Religious based acts in past year, Like to test yourself by doing risky things, Father in house hold, Gender, Participated in one or more Govt. assistance programs and Race.
Father living in household is measured on a whether or not the father lives in the house. Survey question was: does your father live in your place of residence? The selection for the answers was yes/no.
Get a kick out of doing dangerous things is measured on whether or not the likes to do dangerous things. Survey question: Do you get a kick out of doing Dangerous things? The selections for the answer were yes/no.
The number of "other" activities participated in in the last 12 months is measured on how many activities that juveniles participate in in the past year. Survey question: in the past 12 years how many "other" activities have you participated in? The selections for these answers were none, one, two, three or more.
The number of religious activities participated in the last 12 months is measured on how many religious activities that the juvenile participated in in the past year. Survey question: How many religious activities have you participated in in the past 12 years? The selections for these answers were none, one, two, three or more.
Participated in one or more public assistance is measured on whether or not the juvenile has participated in one or more government assistance program. The survey question was: have you participated in one or more public assistance programs? The selections for these answers were yes/no.
Race was to determine what race the individual taking the survey was. The survey question was what race are you? The selection of answers included White or Non-White.
Gender was to determine whether you were male or female. The survey question was what is your gender? The selection of answers included yes, no.
Table 2. Univariate analysis (N=18,678)
Father in house hold
Race/ Hispanicity recode (7 levels)
Now enrolled in any school
Received public assistance
Kick out of doing dangerous things
#of other acts in the past 12 months
Three or more
# of faith based acts participated in past 12 months
Three or more
#of school based acts in past 12 months
Three or more
Delinquent acts (5=highest, 0=lowest)
Table 3. Bivariate Analysis of factors associated with number of delinquent acts
Std. Error of Mean
PARTICIPATED IN ONE OR MORE GOVT. HELP PROGRAM
NUMBER OF OTHER ACTIVITIES PAST 12 MOS
Mean Score on Delinquent acts
(d)Three or more (c)
NUMBER OF FAITH BASED ACTIVITIES PAST 12 MOS
Mean Score on Delinquent acts
(d)Three or more
GET A REAL KICK OUT OF DOING DANGEROUS THINGS
Mean Score on Delinquent acts
As indicated in table three, whites are more likely to have committed delinquent acts more than the non-white. With that being said, the table disagrees with the hypothesis (H7). Also in table three, there is really no significant difference between juveniles that participated in one or more government assistance program. However, juveniles who participated in one or more government assistance program are more likely to participate in delinquent acts. This table agrees with my hypothesis (H5). For gender and the committing of delinquent acts, there is no significant difference between male or female. The mean score for both of them is 1.23. This table disagrees with my hypothesis(H4).
Also, as indicated in table three, the more participation in activities (other activities or religious), the least you are likely to commit Delinquent acts. However if you don't or participate in two activities (Other, or Religious) you are more likely to have commit delinquent acts. Also, If you have participated in two "Other" activities in the past year (mean score 1.23), you are more likely to have committed delinquent acts than any other number of activities you participated in. Moreover, the two activities are also significant with all of the other numbers of activities.
According to table three, for religious activities participated in the last 12 months, if you are in three or more activities, the least you are likely to commit a delinquent act. However, just like juveniles that participates in "other" activities, if they participate in two or more activities they are more likely to be delinquent than any other numbers in this table. Also, if a juvenile always get a kick out of doing dangerous things they are most likely to commit delinquent acts.
Table 4: Multivariate Results
PARTICIPATED IN 1 OR MORE GOVT HELP PROGRAMS
LIKELY TO TEST YOURSELF BY DOING RISKY THINGS
FATHER IN HOUSEHOLD
GET A REAL KICK OUT OF DOING DANGEROUS THINGS
# OF OTHER ACTS
PARTICIPATED IN PAST YEAR
# OF FAITH BASED ACTIVITIES PARTIC. IN PAST YEAR
NUMBER OF DELINQUENT ACTS Alpha .336
R = .337
Adjusted R2= .113
According to the multivariate table the independent variable Likely to test yourself by doing risky things is significant with a sig. of .000 and has the strongest effect on delinquency with a Beta of .153 and a t of 18.401. the independent variable get a real kick out of doing dangerous things is significant with a sig. of .000 and has the second strongest effect on delinquent acts with a beta of .146 and a t of 18.334. The independent variable participated in 1 or more government assistance program is significant wit a sig. of .001 and has the third strongest effect on delinquent acts with a Beta of.051 and a t of 3.465. The independent variable Gender is significant with a sig. of .008 and is the fourth strongest effect on delinquent acts with a beta of .029 and a t of 2.669. The independent variable Father in house hold is significant with a sig. of .046 and has the fifth strongest effect on delinquent acts with a beta of .026 and a t of 1.999. The independent variable Number of other activities in past year is significant with a sig. of .016 and has the sixth strongest effect on delinquent acts with a beta of .016 and a t of 2.870. The independent variable Race is not significant with a sig. of .224 and seventh strongest effect on delinquent acts with a Beta of .014 and a t of 1.165. The independent variable Number of faith based activities participated in the past 12 months is significant with a sig. of .001 and has the weakest effect on delinquent acts with a Beta of -.015 and a t of -3.259.
My research attempted to find weather less supervision and less participation in activity might have caused the juvenile to resort to delinquency as a response to self-control, social learning, labeling theory, Anomie, Strain, and routine activity theories. What I found was that when all eight variables are run together: Participated in 1 or more government assistance programs (sig..001), Gender (sig..008), likely to test yourself by doing risky things (sig..000), father in household (sig..046), get a real kick out of doing dangerous things (sig..000), number of "other" activities participated in past 12 months (sig..004), number of faith based activities participated in last year (sig..001). however, race (sig..224) are not significant factors.
According to the data, most of my hypotheses are not supported.
H1: Juveniles with no Father in household are more likely to be delinquent. The hypothesis is supported. With a significant of .046 I must accept the null hypothesis that juveniles with no father in household are more likely to commit delinquent acts.
H2: Juveniles that get a thrill out of doing dangerous things are more likely to be delinquent. This hypothesis is supported with a significance of .000. However, the more you get a kick out of doing dangerous things, the more likely you are to commit delinquent acts therefore I accept the null hypothesis.
H3: Juvenile delinquents who participate in Religious activities are less likely to be delinquent than a juvenile delinquent who do not participate in any activities. This hypothesis is supported with a significance of .001. However, if a juvenile have participated in two faith based activities in the past 12 months, they are more likely to commit delinquent acts with a mean score of 1.23. But if a juvenile participate in three or more faith based activities in the past 12 months you are least as likely to commit delinquent acts with a mean score of 1.13. Therefore, I have to reject my null hypothesis. If I wanted to accept my hypothesis I would have to re-write it. If I was to accept my hypothesis I would say that if a juvenile has participated in two faith based activities in 12 months they are more likely to commit delinquent acts.
H4: Males are more likely than females to be delinquent. The hypothesis is supported with the significance of .008. Next, there is really no difference between males and female, they have the same mean score of 1.23. Therefor I have to reject my null hypothesis. If I wanted to accept my null hypothesis, I would have to re-write it as Males are just as equal as females to commit delinquent acts.
H5: Juveniles who received government help are more likely to be delinquent. The hypothesis is supported with a significance of .000. Therefor I accept my null hypothesis. If a juvenile participated in one or more government assistance program, they are more likely to commit delinquent acts with a mean of 1.19.
H6: Juveniles who participate in drug acts are more likely to be delinquent. The hypothesis is supported with significance of .004. However, just like in H3 juveniles who participate in two activities (mean score= 1.26) are more likely to commit delinquent acts. Therefor I have to reject my null hypothesis. If I wanted to accept the null hypothesis I would re-write it this way: if a juvenile has participated in two "other" activities in the past 12 months they are more likely to commit delinquent acts
H7: Juveniles of the "other" race are more likely to commit delinquent acts. The hypothesis is not supported. With a significance of .244 I must reject the null hypothesis. Actually according to table three, white juveniles are more likely to commit delinquent acts with a mean score of 1.2. there is no significant difference with race.
This study helps to explain some of the activities in the juvenile's life that might lead to delinquency. However this study only includes 8 independent variables and one dependent variable. Therefor this is a very limited study and further research is required. Not just participation in activities cause delinquent acts, other aspects of delinquent acts require further research. If society could know all of the factors that lead up to delinquent acts and delinquency then maybe society can try to deter or prevent it by implementing programs, or activities that prevent delinquent crimes from happening.
Akers, R, & Sellers, C (2004). Criminological Theories.Los Angeles: Roxbury
Chapman-William-Robert. (1986). Delinquency Theory & Attachment to Peers.
Cross, A. (2007). The Effect of After-School Programs on Routine Activities and Unstructured Socializing. Conference Papers -- American Society Of Criminology, 1.
Intravia, J., Jones, S., & Piquero, A. R. (2012). The Roles of Social Bonds, Personality, and Perceived Costs: An Empirical Investigation Into Hirschi's "New" Control Theory. International Journal Of Offender Therapy & Comparative Criminology, 56(8), 1182-1200. doi:10.1177/0306624X11422998
Wallace, L. H., Moak, S. C., & Moore, N. T., (2005) Religion as an Insulator of
Delinquency in Schools. American Journal Of Criminal Justice, 29(2), 217-233.
Johnson, B. R., Jang, S. J., Larson, D. B., & Li, S. D., (2001). Does Adolescent Religious
commitment matter? A reexamination of the effects of religiosity on Delinquency. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 38(22). Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://jrc.sagepub.com.