Alcohol Use and Social Capital During the Transition From Adolescence Into Young Adulthood

Jason A. Ford, University of Central Florida

Life course theorists have traditionally relied upon the "state dependence" hypothesis to examine the connection between prior and future offending behavior. This approach posits that prior criminal involvement has a genuine behavioral imipact that increases the likelihood of future criminal activity. Stated more precisely, Sampson and Laub maintain that involvement in criminal behavior has a systematic attenuating effect on the social and institutional bonds that link individuals to society. They argue that stability in offending behavior is explained via a dynamic process whereby prior criminal involvement intensifies future criminal involvement through the weakening of the social bond. Therefore, being aware of any factors, other than crime, that may weaken the social bond should contribute to our undetstanding of stability in offending behavior. Using data from the National Youth Survey, this study will examine the impact of alcohol use on social bonding during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. It is hypothesized that serious alcohol use will be negatively related to social onding and, consequently, a predictor of stable rates in offending behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006