Rethinking the IQ-Delinquency Relationship: A Longitudinal Analysis of Competing Theoretical Explanations

Jean M. McGloin, Rutgers University
Travis C. Pratt, Washington State University
Jeffrey R. Maahs, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Criminological research has consistently demonstrated a relationship between IQ and delinquency. nevertheless, scholars continue to debate the precise mechanisms by which IQ should have an effect on delinquent behavior. Although researchers typically view the IA-delinquency relationship as a function of "school performance," competing explanations exist that have yet to be formally tested against one another within the same analysis. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) we extend existng research by assessing both the direct effect of IQ on delinquency and the potential indirect effects of three intervening processes: school performance, peer associations, and parenting effects.

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Updated 05/20/2006