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A Contextual Analysis of Differential Association, Social Control, and Strain Theories of Delinquency

John P. Hoffmann
Social Forces
Vol. 81, No. 3 (Mar., 2003), pp. 753-785
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3598175
Page Count: 33
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A Contextual Analysis of Differential Association, Social Control, and Strain Theories of Delinquency
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Abstract

The history of criminological thought has seen several theories that attempt to link community conditions and individual-level processes. However, a comparative analysis of contextual effects has not been undertaken. This article estimates a multilevel model that examines the effects of variables derived from three delinquency theories. The results indicate that youths residing in areas of high male joblessness who experience stressful life events or little parental supervision are especially likely to be involved in delinquent behavior. The attenuating impact of school involvement on delinquency is more pronounced in urban environments low in male joblessness. These results suggest that examining the contextual implications of delinquency theories is important, but theories need to be developed with more attention to specific contextual processes.

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