Thomas, Erika (2015). Discovering the psychometric properties of a delinquency and criminality scale: A look at the Add Health study.
Life course crime theory describes how one's criminal behavior changes over the course of one's life (Bender, Tripodi, Aguilar, & Thompson, 2010). Criminology research describes the relationship between age and crime, criminal or delinquent involvement peaking in adolescence and then evidencing a decline (Sampson & Laub, 1992). Life course crime theory postulates that social bond attachments such as having a stable job or a secure marital relationship significantly relate to changes in criminality (Bender et al., 2010). To determine whether such bonds as marital attachment, employment and education would be predictors of decreased criminal behavior using the Adolescent Health sample, one needs to create a cohesive scale using factor analysis. The present study constructed scales using the delinquency/criminality scale from waves III and IV of the Add Health. To determine the proper number of factors to extract, parallel analysis and Velicer's Map test were used but produced conflicting results. It was found that Cronbach's alpha was larger for the first factor extracted, around 0.66 for both of the multiple factor patterns in wave III and IV. For wave III, six of the variables loaded onto one factor and two of the variables loaded onto the other with one additional factor containing one variable. For wave IV, five of the variables loaded onto one factor and 2 loaded onto the other factor. The findings support the use of these scales in future research as either predictor or outcome variables.
Morgan State University