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SOC355H1-Reconsidering Peers and Delinquency.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Alexandra Marin

Reconsidering Peers and Delinquency: How do Peers Matter? By Dana Haynie and Wayne Osgood Research question: How do peers matter in regards to delinquency? Why is this important:  Adolescents spend a lot of time with their friends and are more strongly influenced by them during this period than any other time in the life course  Delinquency has been proven to typically involve co-offenders  Therefore, study of peers’ influence on delinquency is crucial to understand patterns and processes that shape crime  Previous data provides measures of friends’ participation in delinquency based on friends’ actual responses, rather than relying on the respondent perceptions of friend’s behavior (could lead to skewed/ bias perceptions)  This poses methodological limitations of the research (and over-emphasis on normative influence), while the present study uses improved methods Results:  Mediating role for peer delinquency is limited in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies  Greatest factors were public assistance, importance of religion, and grae point average  Peer delinquency only accounted for 10-20% for relationships of these variables to respondent’s delinquency  Therefore peer delinquency is not as big of an influence than previously thought  Results supported the validity of opportunity explanation Main Findings  Examines the contribution of peer relations to delinquency from perspective of two sociological traditions: 1. Socialization/ normative influence 2. Opportunity  based on data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health  found support for both socialization and opportunity models  adolescents engage in higher rates of delinquency if they have highly delinquent friends + if they spend large amounts of time in unstructured socializing with friends  results indicate: 1. normative influence of peers on delinquency more limited than previous studies have found 2. normative influence is not increased by being more closely attached to friends or spending more time with them 3. the contribution of opportunity is independent from normative influence but of comparable importance 4. influences from peers do not mediate influence of age, gender, family, or
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