Intersectionality and Juvenile Offending

Carole Gibbs, University of Maryland at College Park

Previous research has found that racial variation exists among adult females in variables theoretically predictive of crime. Utilizing the first two waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, Hill and Crawford (1990) found that macro-level variables (e.g., urban/rural, education, strain) were better predictors of African-American female crime while micro-level variables (e.g., bonding, attitudes, maturation) were better predictors of white female crime. The present paper expands on this work by increasing the breadth of theoretical predictors to include elements of both mainstream and feminist perspectives. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, this analysis explores the degree to which key concepts from competing theoretical perspectives explain juvenile delinquency, as well as whether similar macro/micro patterns exist for male and female youths of different race/ethnicity. The analysis is informed by an intersectionality approach to the study of crime. Analyses are conducted by sex among white, African American, and Hispanic youths.

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Updated 05/20/2006