American Institutional Theories of Crime Causation and Juvenile Delinquency

Gini R. Deibert, University of Texas - Austin

American institutional theories of crime have previously focused on explaining macro-level violent crimes. This study extends earlier works by applying two theories, institutional legitimacy and institutional anomie, to lower level offenses. Findings indicate a strong relationship between delinquency and faith in American social institutions such as the family, the economy and the political system. The relationships, however, vary in direction by offense and institution suggesting partial support for both theories. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006