An Examination of Social Networks in Juvenile Drug Courts: Social Interactions and the Creation of Positive and Negative Social Capital

Nancy Rodriguez, Arizona State University - West
Vincent J. Webb, Arizona State University - West

Recent studies of juvenile drug courts have primarily relied on examining the overall impact of these substance abuse treatment programs. While such studies inform public policy making, they provide relatively little insight into the social dynamics that lead to increased or reduced drug use and/or delinquency. In order to expand the focus of such research, we explore the social networks that develop among juveniles in one particular drug court. We rely on the concept of social capital as our theoretical framework to examine the exchange of information among youths. By using self-report data from 115 juveniles, we present how social interactions (i.e., inside and outside of mandatory drug court activities) produce both positive and negative social capital. Specifically, we identify how juveniles develop perceived notions of drug use, drug availability, delinquency, and drug court effectiveness.

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Updated 05/20/2006