Bonding and delinquency

Kristine Mary Dunlap, Marquette University


The relationships among conventional or familial bonding, peer bonding, and recidivism were examined in 170 male juveniles who had been released for a minimum of 18 months from a Midwestern juvenile correctional institution. The study hypothesized that selected variables would reduce to two bonding factors, namely weak conventional bonding and strong delinquent-peer bonding. The variables examined in this study included measures of childhood abuse, parental involvement, gang affiliation, with whom the original crime was committed, and a measure of institutional adjustment. Using an Alpha Factor Analysis to examine these variables, three factors were identified. A first factor was characterized as strong delinquent-peer bonding. A second factor was characterized by weak conventional bonding. A third factor was characterized by what the investigator called the Minimal peer influence. Only the strong delinquent-peer bonding factor was predictive of recidivism. This factor, strong delinquent-peer bonding, was composed exclusively oft he variable gang affiliation. The weak conventional bonding factor was comprised of physical abuse, neglect, and the number of security stays. It was significantly related to the strong delinquent-peer bonding factor but not to recidivism. The third factor, Minimal peer influence, was related to weak conventional bonding but not to either the strong delinquent-peer bonding factor or recidivism. This third factor was essentially unrelated to the model of recidivism as postulated. Results of this study support the model that recidivism is the result of delinquent peer bonding, and strong delinquent-peer bonding may result when conventional bonding has been disrupted or precluded.

Recommended Citation

Dunlap, Kristine Mary, "Bonding and delinquency" (1998). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9842429.