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The diversity of findings on the class-delinquency relationship may reflect differential middle-class cultural dominance in school systems. In predominantly middle-class schools, the minority of working-class youth conform to the majority standards and the relationship does not hold. In more class heterogeneous schools a cross-class cultural diffusion occurs among youth such that objective class status no longer is predictive of delinquency. In predominantly working-class schools a negative class-delinquency relationship is found; in such a milieu, those youth who are committed to conventional middle-class culture only can have acquired such commitments from their middle-class parents. The self-report studies of class and delinquency are reviewed in the light of these hypotheses.
The Sociological Quarterly © 1974 Midwest Sociological Society