Date of Award:

2003

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Susan L. Crowley

Abstract

The purposes of this study were twofold: (1) to compare rates of delinquency between Mexican American and European American adolescents, and (2) to test the application of a model of delinquency designed to be especially relevant to Mexican lll American adolescents. The study is one of the first attempts to advance knowledge about delinquency among Mexican American adolescents through the development and test of a comprehensive model of delinquency. The model constructed as part of this study-labeled the psychosocial strain model-was unique in that it integrated variables from different theoretical perspectives and its construction was guided by knowledge of cultural and demographic characteristics of Mexican Americans. The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a large and nationally representative sample of adolescents. Analyses indicated that Mexican American adolescents engaged in a disproportionate amount of delinquency. Mexican American adolescents also tended to engage in delinquency at a greater and more serious level than European American adolescents. Results of path analysis used to test the psychosocial strain model revealed that the model explained a statistically significant amount of the variance in delinquency for both males and females. However, not all paths in the model were statistically significant. In addition, the results revealed important gender differences in the applicability of the model. Implications of the study findings and future research directions are discussed.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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