Examining the Effects of Social Disorganization and Commitment to Conventional Lifestyles on Delinquency

Irshad Altheimer, Washington State University

Research examining the causes of crime often has focused on one of two units of analysis: individuals or neighborhoods. Generally, these two units of analysis have been studied in isolatioln from one another, but in recent years, an increasing number of studies have integrated individual- and neighborhood-level analyses by considering the extent to which neighborhood-level dynamics affect individual-level crime and delinquency. This study considers this issue as well. Specifically, NYS data are used to examine whether living in a socially disorganized neighbohood effects individual-level delinquency by affecting an individual's commitment to a conventional lifestyle. Since commitment to conventional lifestyle is a known predictor of delinquency it is argued that a significant relationship between social disorganization and commitment to conventional lifestyle identifies the indirect effects of social disorganization on delinquency. The final model is tested with structural equation modeling (LISREL). The findings suggest that there is a small indirect effect of social disorganization on individual delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006