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Gender, Reflected Appraisals, and Labeling: A Cross-Group Test of an Interactionist Theory of Delinquency

Dawn Jeglum Bartusch and Ross L. Matsueda
Social Forces
Vol. 75, No. 1 (Sep., 1996), pp. 145-176
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580760
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580760
Page Count: 32
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Gender, Reflected Appraisals, and Labeling: A Cross-Group Test of an Interactionist Theory of Delinquency
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Abstract

This article builds upon a symbolic interactionist model of delinquency (Matsueda 1992) by assessing whether an interactionist model can account for the gender gap in delinquent behavior. We argue that delinquency is determined in part by the self as conceived by symbolic interactionists, which in turn is determined by a process of labeling by significant others. We estimate a cross-gender model of delinquency using data from the National Youth Survey and find that, for both males and females, parental appraisals significantly affect youths' reflected appraisals, which in turn predict delinquency. Nevertheless, we find some gender interactions: for males, parental labeling and reflected appraisals have a larger effect on delinquency, and males are more likely to be falsely accused by parents. When we take into account gender differences in both levels of independent variables and the magnitude of effects of those variables, our model explains a substantial portion of the gender gap in delinquency.

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