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Cinquante-six garçons du secondaire ont expliqué pourquoi ils avaient perpétré ou non certains actes de délinquance (combat, vandalisme, vol à l'étalage, usage de drogues). Ils ont aussi ciblé des théories sociologiques de la délinquance qui s'appliquent à leur comportement. Leurs réponses montrent que les deux types de données se recoupent beaucoup. L'effort, la théorie gánérate, les pairs, le contrôle social, les techniques de neutralisation et la prévention sont importants, mais non l'étiquetage ni l'imitation des médias. Une théorie de contingence de la délinquance est proposée.

Fifty-six high school boys were asked to explain in their own words why they had engaged in or refrained from certain delinquencies: fighting, vandalism, petty theft, truancy and drug use. They were also given the opportunity, via a checklist, to tell whether selected sociological theories applied to their behaviour. Their responses revealed considerable overlap in the two forms of data. Strain, general theory, peers, social control, techniques of neutralization and deterrence are important in varying combinations. Labelling and media imitation are not. A contingency theory of delinquency is proposed.