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Social Disorganization Models of Deviance (From Sociology of Delinquency, P 78-92, 1980, Gary F Jensen, ed. - See NCJ-84102)

NCJ Number
G W Knox
Date Published
15 pages
This research shows that the control model of juvenile deviance is more closely associated with self-reported crime, while the strain model of deviance yields stronger relationships with subcultural deviance.
Social disorganization theory posits a faulty link between the culture and the social structure. Two of the more popular models of social disorganization theory are the strain and control models of delinquency and deviance. Strain models emphasize the importance of structural barriers which result in strain or frustration when there is a discrepancy between aspirations and expectations. Control models, on the other hand, tend to assume that strain is constant and emphasize the importance of social controls. To test the explanatory power of these models, data were collected from youths age 16-21 adjudicated for serious offenses and enrolled in an educational upgrading program in Chicago (n=198). The dependent variables were self-reported crime and drug abuse and an alternative measure of delinquency, i.e., the number of friends reported as hustling or stealing to make a living. For the control model, self-esteem was measured by the Rosenberg (1965) scale, and in the strain model, a composite scale for perceived opportunity in the legitimate opportunity structure was used. Perceived legitimate opportunity is shown to have no relationship to the self-reported offenses, while self-esteem shows the strongest correlation with self-reported deviance. The findings suggest that theory testing which seeks to evaluate two or more models and then combine them in some analytic fashion may not be the best way to build or assess theory, especially when the rules of correspondence suggest that compatible dependent variables must be chosen for each model. Tabular data and 51 references are provided.