Children’s immigrant generational status and delinquency: The mediating effects of friendship networks


Chen, Xiaojin & Jiang, Xin (2020). Children's immigrant generational status and delinquency: The mediating effects of friendship networks. Social Science Research.


A mounting body of empirical studies demonstrates that first-generation immigrant children have a lower level of delinquency and crime but second and third-plus generations report a precipitous increase in these behaviors. Adopting a social network approach, we analyzed the behavioral and structural characteristics of children’s friendship networks across the first, second, and third-plus immigrant generations, and investigated the mediating role of these friendship traits in explaining generational disparity. Our results reveal that children’s friendship networks differ in structural (e.g., popularity) and behavioral features (e.g., network deviance) across immigrant generations. These friendship features, particularly network peer deviance, the percentage of second-generation friends, and children’s popularity mediate the association between immigrant generational status and children’s delinquency. Extending previous research, our study highlights the importance of applying the social network approach to understand delinquency disparity across immigrant generations and suggests that the composition of friendship networks play an important role in immigrant children’s delinquency involvement.




Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science Research


Chen, Xiaojin
Jiang, Xin

Year Published




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