Too cool for school? Violence, peer status and high school dropout

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Research shows that peer status in adolescence is positively associated with school achievement and adjustment. However, subculture theories of juvenile delinquency and school-based ethnographies suggest that (1. disadvantaged boys are often able to gain some forms of peer status through violence and (2. membership in violent groups undermines educational attainment. Building on these ideas, we use peer network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine whether peer status within highly violent groups increases male risks of high school dropout. Consistent with the subcultural argument, we find that disadvantaged boys with high status in violent groups are at much greater risks of high school dropout than other students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-472
Number of pages28
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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