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Friends' and Adolescents' Delinquency: The Moderating Role of Social Status and Reciprocity of Friendships

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 37 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 289-305
Karin S. Nijhof; Ron H.J. Scholte; Geertjan Overbeek; Rutger C.M.E. Engels
Date Published
March 2010
17 pages
The current study examined the role of friends' delinquency, in terms of violent and property offenses and vandalism.
Data were collected from 1,025 adolescents and their best friends in 19 Dutch secondary schools. Concerning violent offenses, cross-sectional analyses showed that adolescents with a high-status friend were more likely to commit violent offenses themselves, whereas adolescents with a low-status friend engaging in vandalism had a greater likelihood of perpetrating vandalism than the adolescents with a high-status friend. The adolescent's violent delinquency and vandalism were positively related to the friend's delinquency only when the friendship was reciprocal. Longitudinally, adolescents with a high-status friend perpetrating vandalism were more likely to engage in vandalism, whereas those with a low-status vandalistic friend showed a decrease. Finally, having a reciprocal friend who committed property offenses increased the adolescent's risk of committing similar offenses, whereas adolescents with a unilateral friend showed a decreased risk over time. Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)