Explaining Males' and Females' Delinquency: A Multi-Level Analysis of Individual and Contextual Factors

Dana Peterson, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The applicability of "traditional" delinquency theories for explanations of female crime is a topic of continuing debate. Early feminist scholars contended that traditional, "male-centered," theories could not adequately explain females' delinquency. However, several recent studies have demonstrated that some traditional theories can explain female delinquency, and in fact may explain greater variation in females' than males' delinquency. This paper adds to the theoretical dialogue by examining the generalizability of a theoretical model that integrates elements of "traditional" theories. Individual- level data collected as part of the National Evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program are merged with census data to allow for a multi-level analysis of both individual and contextual factors affecting boys' and girls' delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006