Testing the Generalizability of Sampson and Laub's Life Course Theory: Examining the Relationship Between Adult Social Bonds and Drug Use Among an Urban, African American Sample

Danielle Polizzi Fox, University of Maryland at College Park

The focus of this paper is on the generalizability of Sampson and Laub's (1993) findings on the salience of adult social onds in explaining variation in offending over the life course. Using Sampson and Laub's age-graded theory of informal social control as a guide, analyses will be conducted using data from Ann Brunswick's Harlem Longitudinal Study of Urban Black Youth. This longitudinal sdata set contains extensive information on drug use in adoelescence and young adulthood and has been virtually unexplored by criminologists. The key question posed in this research is whether adult social bonds (i.e., job stability, commitment, and attachment to spouse) can account for avariation in drug use across time among a contemporary, urban sample of male and female African-Americans. Multiple statistical techniques will be used to control for unobserved heterogeneity in order to more clearly understand sources of behavioral change over time.

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Updated 05/20/2006