Public release date: 16-Jun-2009
Contact: Jackie Cooper
American Sociological Association
Neighborhood violence affects disadvantaged youth and the influence of family and religion on youth delinquency
WASHINGTON, DC — Research published in the June issue of the American Sociological Review examines issues surrounding families, communities, youth and delinquency. The following briefs highlight selected sociological findings.
Older Peers Shape Teen Choices in Violent Neighborhoods
Teen boys living in disadvantaged areas face particular threats beyond their own neighborhoods and are therefore more likely to spend time with older peers than are their counterparts in more advantaged areas, reports David J. Harding of the University of Michigan.
Youths from other neighborhoods are potential enemies rather than potential friends, resulting in a restricted set of possible friends. For boys in these neighborhoods, Harding finds, older peers become a more attractive choice—in part because they provide a source of protection.
Family and Religious Environments Deter Delinquent Behaviors of Teens, Young Adults
Living with two parents deters youths from becoming delinquent, according to Ball State University sociologist Richard J. Petts' analysis of how family and religious characteristics influence delinquency trajectories from early adolescence through young adulthood.
Petts finds that supportive parenting practices reduce the likelihood of children becoming involved in delinquent behavior early in adolescence. His findings also suggest that family and religion interact to predict delinquency trajectories. Specifically, religion enhances the effect of parental affection in deterring delinquent behavior and lessens the risk of delinquent behavior among young people in single-parent families.
Petts' analysis links family transitions with increases in delinquency, but religious participation throughout adolescence and marriage are associated with declines in delinquent behavior.