Delinquency among African American Youth (Criminal Justice) by Steven B. Carswell

By Steven B. Carswell

Carswell reviews the relationships between parental attachment, socioeconomic prestige, peer relationships and participation in threat behaviors and delinquency between city African American adolescence. He reveals that greater socioeconomic prestige and parental attachment are with regards to diminished participation in threat behaviors in either deviant peer relationships and delinquency. furthermore, greater involvement in deviant peer relationships is said to bigger participation in either threat behaviors and delinquency. The involvement of adlescent in antisocial behaviors is a mirrored image of a fancy net of private and public illnesses in the US that calls for a number of prevention and intervention thoughts designed to lessen danger elements and improve protecting elements within the person, family members, peer, college, and neighborhood domain names.

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As indicated previously, the present investigation attempts to address these issues by assessing the extent to which parental attachment, family socioeconomic status, and deviant peer relationships predict youth involvement in risk behaviors and delinquency among urban African American middle school students. Theoretical Explanations of Youth Deviance Over the years, eight theoretical perspectives have come to dominate the social science literature regarding youth deviance. The main tenets of each of these theories are briefly summarized as follows: 1) social learning – whereby deviance occurs as a result of intellectual and social skills deficits within the individual and such behavior is learned through associations with other individuals who themselves are deviant; 2) rational choice – whereby individuals perform rational calculations of risk versus reward and engage in deviant behaviors if rewards are considered to be high and risks are low; 3) structural functionalism – whereby deviant 34 Delinquency among African American Youth behavior exists within society as a result of social inequities and may serve the purpose of challenging the status quo while also maintaining and reinforcing social norms by rewarding conformists and punishing deviants; 4) conflict – whereby deviant behavior occurs as a result of opposing groups competing for scarce resources; 5) labeling – whereby youth who commit deviant acts are identified or labeled by members of society as being deviant, they then internalize this belief, as adolescence is a time when self-identifies are formed, thus increasing the likelihood that they will continue to engage in such behaviors in the future; 6) social control – whereby youth who are weakly attached to society are more likely to participate in deviant behaviors; 7) strain – whereby individuals in society share similar values and beliefs and strive for success through socially acceptable means to obtain desired resources, however, when individuals are blocked or restricted from obtaining such resources legitimately, internal conflicts may occur and participation in illegitimate or deviant acts may be viewed as a means to obtain such resources; and 8) cultural deviance – whereby the social and environmental conditions to which an individual is exposed determines their behavioral patterns and whether they will participate in deviant acts (Hoffmann, 2003; Leighninger, 1996; Rankin & Wells, 1990; Sullivan & Wilson, 1995).

In general, this research indicates that youth participation in such activities is rarely limited to involvement in one area of deviance but instead tends to encompass multiple areas of deviant or criminal behavior (Crowley & Riggs, 1995; Jainchill, Hawke, & Messina, 2005; Juon, Eoherty, & Ensminger, 2006). For example, in a study by Jainchill, Hawke, & Messina (2005) involving 250 adolescent males and females admitted to a therapeutic community treatment program for substance use, the researchers found extensive youth involvement in multiple criminal activities prior to treatment admission, including drug sales, violent crimes, and property crimes.

From this perspective, deviance occurs as a result of these powerful people overreacting to minor rule breaking by youth and their subsequent labeling of these youth as deviants. Such labeling Mediators of Deviant Behavior 41 not only undermines their feelings of self-worth but also results in the internalization of the belief that they are, in fact, deviants, thus, increasing the likelihood that they will engage or continue to engage in deviant acts (Lanier, 2003; Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 1989).

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