A Longitudinal Test of Power-Control Theory

Jennifer L. Hartman, Northeastern University

Hagan's power-control theory posits that gender differences in delinquency and crime are at least partly attributed to the differential socialization processes that boys and girls receive within patriarchal versus egalitarian households. In patriarchal households, the gender ratio in delinquency should be larger because boys are encouraged to be risk takers while girls are socialized into more feminine roles. This gender ratio in delinquency should be less pronounced in egalitarian households where boys and girls are socialized more similarly. While studies using cross-sectional research designs have generally found support for Hagan's hypotheses, longitudinal approaches attempting to understand these relationships have yet to be examined. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I examine how changes in the level of patriarchy within a household affect the changes in the gender-delinquency and crime distribution. The theoretical and policy implications of this research are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006