This research was supported by Public Health Service Research Grant No. MH 29095, National Institute of Mental Health, Center for Studies of Antisocial and Violent Behavior. The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful suggestions made by the reviewers of this manuscript.
SCHOOL BONDING, RACE, AND DELINQUENCY*
Version of Record online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 261–291, May 1992
How to Cite
CERNKOVICH, S. A. and GIORDANO, P. C. (1992), SCHOOL BONDING, RACE, AND DELINQUENCY. Criminology, 30: 261–291. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1992.tb01105.x
Stephen A. Cernkovich is Professor of Sociology at Bowling Green State University. His research interests include chronic juvenile offenders and conceptualization and measurement issues in criminology. He currently is studying the overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenile justice system. Along with Charles H. McCaghy, he is co-author of Crime in American Society, second edition.
Peggy C. Giordano is Professor of Sociology at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include the role of peer relations in the etiology of adolescent problem behaviors. She currently is studying the role of family and peer processes among black adolescents.
- Issue online: 7 MAR 2006
- Version of Record online: 7 MAR 2006
While there is considerable evidence that blacks experience school in qualitatively distinct ways from whites, there has been a general failure to examine racial variation in the impact of school variables on juvenile misconduct. The purpose of this research is to describe the manner in which school bonding affects delinquent conduct, focusing in particular on the role of the school in the delinquent involvement of black youths. Our orientation is primarily a control theory one that suggests that the greater the degree of school bonding the lesser the likelihood of involvement in delinquent activities. Our review of the literature leads us to expect differential levels of bonding by race and across varying racial environments of schools, with resulting differential effects on delinquency. On the basis of a neighborhood sample of 942 adolescents, we identijj seven distinct dimensions of school bonding. The analysis reveals that blacks are at least as strongly bonded to the school as whites, that our model explains comparable amounts of variance in delinquency across race-sex subgroups, and that the racial composition of the school is generally unimportant in conditioning the effect of school bonding on delinquency. While our findings are generally supportive of control theory, a model that purports to be invariant across race, gender, and socioeconomic boundaries, we caution that such a conclusion may be both premature and mistaken. We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest that they be interpreted within a framework that also considers family and peer bonding.