correlates of delinquency

Matelina M. Aulava
Chaminade University
3140 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu HI 96816


Studies have been conducted on what factors lead to delinquency. Proposed factors of delinquency have been studied in three major fields, biological, psychological, and sociological. This study is guided by psychological and sociological theories. The question of whether or not relationships among attachment, aggression, and delinquency exist was investigated through survey research. Attachment, aggression, and delinquent behavior were measured for college students from three universities, one and business college, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Correlation analysis found that the variables are significantly correlated in the hypothesized direction, for the entire group. It was found that: 1) attachment is negatively correlated with aggression, 2) attachment is negatively correlated with delinquent behavior, and 3) aggression is positively correlated with delinquency. Controlling for gender, however, showed that, for females, only the negative correlation between attachment and aggression was significant. For males, all correlations were in the hypothesized direction and significant
American society is a youth-oriented society with a carefree and happy image of young people. Unfortunately, the deviance and delinquency of today\'s youth conflicts with this image of society. According to national media coverage of crime, juvenile delinquency is increasing. For instance, a recent study done by the Center for Media and Public Affairs revealed that while the homicide rate fell 20% between 1993 and 1996, media coverage of murders increased. National research suggests that the media often over exaggerate crime-related news (Perrone & Chesney-Lind, 1998). As the juvenile population grows, media tend to publish false reports.
The juvenile population in the United States is growing and will reach 74 million by the year 2010. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report, published in Frank Schmalleger\'s book Criminal Justice Today, found that if trends continue as they have the past ten years, the rate of growth for juveniles will double by the year 2010 (Schmalleger, 1997). The FBI estimated 2.8 million arrests of juvenile (persons under age 18) were made in 1997 for all offenses. One hundred twenty three thousand of these arrests were for murder, forcible rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Juveniles were accounted for 30% of all robbery arrests, 12% for forcible rape arrests, 14% for aggravated assault arrests, and 14% for murder arrests. Since 1980 juvenile violent crime arrests increased. However, in 1997, the violent crime offenses declined (Synder, 1999). What could be the reason of this increase? The authorities believed it could be how each state implements the laws that were in effect during this period or rather it is due to police formality. Most juveniles (perhaps as many as 90%) have committed at least one delinquent act. This report is based on reported crimes only (Schmalleger, 1997). The above statistics reveal that juvenile delinquency is a significant social problem nationally.
In contrast to national statistics, the Department of the Attorney General of Hawai\'i statistics show several patterens in the state juvenile delinquency. Between 1986 to 1996, the number of arrests increased only 19.7% compared to a national increase of 30.1% for the period 1986 to 1995 (Chesney-Lind, Mayeda, Marker, Paramore, & Okamoto, 1998). The increase in juvenile arrests in Hawaii was primarily due to runaways and curfew violation. Arrests for these offenses increased 93% in the last decade. More recent data show the number of arrests between 1994 (20,650) and 1997 (16,861) decreased 15%. In 1997, there were no arrests for murder. Males accounted for 70% of delinquency, while female accounted for 30%. Regardless of the high number of crimes committed by juveniles, the number of juvenile arrests for index crimes decreased 4.5% from 1996 to 1997 (Richmond & Perrone, 1998).
The purpose of this study is to determine if the psychological factor of attachment and the sociological factor of aggression are related to delinquent behavior. According to Schmalleger (1997), juvenile delinquency consists of actions or conduct that violates criminal law, juvenile status offenses, and other juvenile misbehavior. Actions or conduct that violates the law deals with offenses such as breaking and entering, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct. Juvenile status offenses refer to violation such as purchasing cigarettes, buying alcohol, and truancy. Juvenile misbehavior involves run away, violating curfew, and vagrancy (Schmalleger, 1997). Delinquency is a legal term that is most often used to identify children and adolescents who have