A reconsideration of social control theory: Understanding the interwoven nature of the social bond, academic performance and juvenile delinquency
Menasco, Melissa Ahn
MetadataShow full item record
While previous research has attempted to examine the relationship between the social bond, adolescent delinquency and academic performance, few have sought a comprehensive comparison between the sexes. Using data from the 1990 and 2000 waves of the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), this study seeks to (1) compare the social bond and its effects on males and females, (2) examine the efficacy of the social bond on differential forms of delinquency and (3) understand the relationship between academic performance, delinquency, and the social bond. Building upon the paradigm of social control theory, most previous research has focused on small samples of male delinquents. This research, in contrast, utilizes a large dataset (N = 8363) to examine both male and female delinquency. Findings provide partial support for social control theory while differentiating the effect of the social bond on each sex. For both sexes, belief was the only element of the social bond found to have a significant and inverse relationship for all delinquency measures. Academic performance was also found to have a significant and inverse relationship with delinquency measures for both females and males. Various family characteristics (e.g., ethnicity, parental education, number of siblings) were found to affect the sexes although results were not consistent. These results indicate a distinct and gendered relationship between academic performance, delinquency, and the social bond. The implications of these findings, specifically as they pertain to gender differences, are discussed.