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Relations Between Neighborhood Factors, Parenting Behaviors, Peer Deviance, and Delinquency Among Serious Juvenile Offenders

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Publication Date: March 2006

Publisher(s): MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): Laurence Steinberg; He Len Chung

Topic: Population and demographics (Children and youth)
Social conditions (Urban conditions)

Keywords: Economic inequality; Peer deviance; Juvenile delinquency; Parenting practices

Coverage: Pennsylvania Arizona


The present study examined relations among neighborhood structural and social characteristics, parenting practices, peer group affiliations, and delinquency among a group of serious adolescent offenders. The sample of 14-18-year-old boys (N = 488) was composed primarily of economically disadvantaged, ethnic-minority youth living in urban communities. The results indicate that weak neighborhood social organization is indirectly related to delinquency through its associations with parenting behavior and peer deviance and that a focus on just 1 of these microsystems can lead to oversimplified models of risk for juvenile offending. The authors also find that community social ties may confer both pro- and antisocial influences to youth, and they advocate for a broad conceptualization of neighborhood social processes as these relate to developmental risk for youth living in disadvantaged communities.


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