An Opportunity Model of Adolescent Delinquency

Amy L. Anderson, The Pennsylvania State University

There are both individual and aggregate opportunity theories of delinquency that suggest that certain individual and structural factors increase the likelihood of delinquency. The current research uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health to examine the relationship of several structural and individual level opportunity factors to delinquency. The current research tests a series of hypotheses pertaining to opportunity and delinquency. For example, I argue that for urban or metropolitan adolescents, the presence of certain structural factors amplifies the effects of certain individual-level opportunity factors that are themselves of particular importance, such as time use, income, and mobility. Hierarchical linear modeling techniques are used in order to determine both individual and structural effects on delinquency. Structural factors from both the neighborhood (e.g., land-use) and the adolescents' schools (e.g., level of parental monitoring) are considered, with the school serving as the dominant context.

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Updated 05/20/2006