CitationWade, T. J. (2001). Delinquency and health among adolescents: multiple outcomes of a similar social and structural process. Int J Law Psychiatry. vol. 24 (4-5) pp. 447-467
AbstractThe majority of social scientific research today tends to be discipline specific, concentrating upon distinct phenomena of interest and how individual and structural determinants influence these phenomena. This is evident in research specializations as diverse as criminology and mental health. Each has progressed to theoretical positions that attempt to explain how underlying factors contribute to specific outcomes. Within criminology, one of the dominant paradigms used to explain childhood misconduct, juvenile delinquency, adult crime, and risk-taking behavior — the control perspective — hypothesizes a causal relationship between structural and social processes and the increased likelihood of antisocial consequences.
These disciplines have been successful at laying the groundwork for understanding the relationship between social and structural processes and the discipline-specific outcome of interest. However, are these phenomena — mental health problems and delinquency — mutually exclusive or might they be multiple outcomes of similar underlying social and structural processes? Recent epidemiological and clinical evidence reveals a tendency among adolescents to manifest a clustering of delinquency, substance abuse, and mental health problems indicating that they may be associated with one another (Kessler et al., 1996, Steinhausen et al., 1998; cf. Milin, 1996). This implies that these internalizing and externalizing behaviors may be multiple outcomes of similar structural and social processes suggesting a need to move past a discipline-specific focus to investigate whether adolescents who experience social and structural disadvantage are at risk for a multitude of negative outcomes.