Schaefer, David R. (2015). A more rigorous examination of delinquent peer associations through longitudinal network models. Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology.
There is a growing consensus that a full explanation of delinquency must focus not only on socialization processes but also offer an explanation for how deviant peer associations arise. As Osgood observed, “selection determines the influence.” The current study addresses this question by testing two factors theorized to heighten adolescents’ risk of befriending delinquent peers: 1) weak attachments to conventional society (e.g., Thornberry 1987) and 2) low self-control (e.g., McGloin and Shermer, 2009). Despite being a network selection question, studies testing this hypothesis have not drawn upon the network literature on friend selection dynamics. This is troubling as network theory articulates how multiple processes can create identical social network patterns. The current study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and a Stochastic Actor-Based model (Snijders, 2001) to offer a more rigorous evaluation of whether adolescents with select characteristics choose substance-using peers as friends. I find evidence that previous studies may have overestimated the strength of this effect and offer new insight to theory of how adolescent friendships set the stage for peer influence.
Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology
Schaefer, David R.
City of Publication