Adolescent Victimization and Offending: Specifying the Role of Peer Groups

Jennifer N. Shaffer, The Pennsylvania State University

One of the most consistent findings from research on adolescent crime is that the peer group is an important determinant of juvenile delinquency, but we do not know whether peer groups influence adolescents' risk for criminal victimization or whether they affect the dynamics of the victim-offender overlap. This research uses a routine activity framework to investigate (a) whether and how peer groups influence adolescents' risk of criminal victimization and (b) how peer groups influence the relationships between victimization and offending. The study examines two dimensions of adolescents' peer groups, their structural characteristics (e.g., density and centrality) and their social characteristics (e.g., the extent of offending and victimization among peer group members). Data for this research come from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

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Updated 05/20/2006