ADOLESCENT ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS AND DELINQUENCY INVOLVEMENT

Authors

  • DANA L. HAYNIE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dana L. Haynie is a assistant professor of sociology at the Ohio State University.
      *Address all correspondence to: Dana L. Haynie, The Ohio State University, Department of Sociology, 300 Bricker Hall, 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, email: haynie.7@osu.edu. This research uses data from the Add Health project, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry (PI) and Peter Bearman, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Persons interested in obtaining data files from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 : http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth.
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  • PEGGY C. GIORDANO,

    1. Peggy C. Giordano is a distinguished research professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University.
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  • WENDY D. MANNING,

    1. Wendy D. Manning is a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University and director of the Center for Family and Demographic Research.
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  • MONICA A. LONGMORE

    1. Monica A. Longmore is a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University.
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*Address all correspondence to: Dana L. Haynie, The Ohio State University, Department of Sociology, 300 Bricker Hall, 190 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, email: haynie.7@osu.edu. This research uses data from the Add Health project, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry (PI) and Peter Bearman, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Persons interested in obtaining data files from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 : http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth.

Abstract

While much attention has centered on the role of peer influence for adolescent delinquency, that of romantic partners has been largely neglected. Recent analyses of romantic relationships during the adolescent period suggest their general importance to development; research highlights that adolescents themselves frequently describe these relations as relatively intimate and influential. Thus, while classic theoretical frameworks such as differential association theory have often centered on the role of peers, their general logic is consistent with the notion that such relationships may indeed “matter” as a source of influence on delinquent behavior. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health are well suited for examining the role of romantic partners because they allow for the identification and recreation of friendship networks and connections between romantic partners. Forging these interconnections, we link friends' and romantic partners' delinquency to respondents' own delinquency, enabling an examination of romantic partner influence on adolescent delinquency, beyond that influence associated with friends' behaviors. Drawing on theories of gender stratification, we also explore whether the effect of romantic partners' behavior is conditioned by gender. Findings reveal that romantic partners' delinquency exerts a unique effect on respondents' delinquency net of friends' delinquency and control variables. Additionally, romantic partners' deviance has a stronger effect on female involvement in minor deviance. We find no evidence, however, that gender conditions the strength of romantic partners' more serious delinquency on respondents' serious delinquency.

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