Explaining the educational deficits of delinquent youths

Sonja E. Siennick, Jeremy Staff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Why do delinquent youths complete less education than do their conventional peers? Theory and research in criminology and in the sociology of education suggest that two aspects of youths' commitment to education, their future goals and their behavioral investments in those goals, may explain the delinquency-education relationship, but only when considered jointly. Using panel data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, we find that educational expectations and school effort together explain delinquents' lower rates of college attendance and graduation, but of these two factors, effort provides the more powerful explanation. We also find that transcript grades explain more of the delinquency-education relationship than do self-reported grades, which indicates that delinquent youths may not know exactly how they are performing in school. Our findings suggest that the aspirational and behavioral components of commitment to education are only loosely coupled, and that delinquent youths may not understand how their behavior can jeopardize their goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-635
Number of pages27
JournalCriminology
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

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deficit
Education
education
delinquency
commitment
sociology of education
Criminology
criminology
know how
Sociology
school
longitudinal study
Longitudinal Studies
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

Siennick, Sonja E. ; Staff, Jeremy. / Explaining the educational deficits of delinquent youths. In: Criminology. 2008 ; Vol. 46, No. 3. pp. 609-635.
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Explaining the educational deficits of delinquent youths. / Siennick, Sonja E.; Staff, Jeremy.

In: Criminology, Vol. 46, No. 3, 01.08.2008, p. 609-635.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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