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YOUTH EMPLOYMENT, DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION, AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

WILLIAM J. MILLER and RICK A. MATTHEWS
Sociological Focus
Vol. 34, No. 3 (August 2001), pp. 251-268
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20832123
Page Count: 18
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YOUTH EMPLOYMENT, DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION, AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
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Abstract

Attempts by criminologists to examine the causes of delinquency have traditionally focused on two institutions: the family and the school. Despite the fact that adolescent work is becoming an increasingly important part of adolescent life, relatively few studies have attempted to examine the potential effect of labor market participation on delinquent behavior. It has been commonly thought that employment provides adolescents with a number of personal benefits that can assist them in making a relatively seamless transition into adulthood. However, the limited research in this area is not so clear. Some researchers have found that work helps to insulate adolescents from delinquency, while others find that employment actually increases an adolescent's chances of becoming involved in delinquent behavior. This study seeks to examine the work-delinquency relationship by reporting the results of a self-report delinquency survey. Our analysis found that working during the school year has a positive effect on delinquency, while working during the summer does not. However, the strongest predictor of delinquency was not working, conventional commitments, or attachments, but rather delinquent peers at school.

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