This critique analyzes a journal by Özden Özbay of Nigde University, Turkey and Yusuf Ziya Özcan of the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. This Journal reviews a research conducted among 1,710 high school students in the city of Ankara, Turkey in June 2001 to test the Hirsch’s Social Bonding Theory using a case study that compares female and male Delinquency. In the study, Hirsch’s social bonding theory is used to identify the aspects of the theory that can account for female or male delinquency. In addition, the research study tries to find out if social bonding variants can similarly explain female and male delinquency in the developing society. The data collected includes a two-stage arranged sample of 1,710 high school learners from Ankara, Turkey. The study’s outcomes indicate that social bonding variants have a more critical role for the male students than for the female ones. They also signify that components of the social bonding theory can similarly explain both male and female delinquency acts.
There has been an argument that the relationship between gender and crime has not received enough attention. The importance of this topic has been downgraded to a marginal role in criminology’s history. The literature on how gender and delinquency relate has concentrated n one of the major concepts, generalizability, which refers to whether theories focusing on males can be equally applied to females. Three major perspectives can be learned regarding this issue. According the first perspective, traditional theories of delinquency account equally for both male and female delinquent conduct. According to the second perspective, criminology has been based on male standards or experiences and hence reflects male andocentric features, similar to other social sciences. As a result, conventional theories of delinquency are not very useful in explaining female delinquency that requires a different explanation. The third perspective attempts to combine the two: it acknowledges both similarities and differences in explaining the reasons for both male and female delinquency.
Research claims that although conventional theories of delinquency can explain the gender gap, the theories are limited in a number of ways. First, the theories have been tested in relation to minor delinquent cases. Second, the focus has mostly been on male offenders. Third, female delinquent’s acts are different from male delinquent acts concerning the paths to delinquency and context. For instance, the relationship between the offender and the victim, thus, the offender plays a role in the initiation of the delinquency.
The existing literature contains many limitations. Tests on the social bonding theory have mainly centered on Western societies. As a result, explanations are limited to these societies, especially the United States. There is an increase in the problem of cross-cultural generalizability to the forefront in criminology results. By utilizing self-reported data on juvenile delinquent behaviors, in a developing society, the authors hope to shed more light on this generalizability problem (Cabrera, 2001). Some testing has been done on social bonding variants outside the United States for example in France, Holland, the Philippines, India, and Sweden. Little research has addressed the issue of generalizability of the social bonding theory to both female and male delinquency. Most importantly, most studies on the applicability of the social bond theory on gender are yet to test elements of the theory of male and female delinquent acts. The result is seen as a significant deficiency in the existing research. In addition, there has been very little research concerning the relationship between male and female delinquencies and the social bonding variants.
The central thesis of the Hirsch's social bonding theory is that delinquent behavior occurs when the bond of an individual to society is weak or broken. According to Hirsch, his approach aims to answer, “Why don’t they do it?” and not “Why do they do it?” The social bond is the fundamental concept and includes four major components, attachment to peers, parents, and teachers. In addition, commitment to conventional kinds of action (education), belief in the importance of social norms and involvement in traditional activities (sports) are also reviewed. Hirsch argues that if the youths are firmly attached to peers, parents, and teachers. Committed to a traditional kind of action, believe in the validity of moral values and involved in regular activities, they will be less likely to commit delinquent acts. In other words, the expectation is that the strength of the elements of the social bond will be inversely related to juvenile delinquency. One missing component in Hirsch’s theory is a delinquent friend. These studies add this variable to his argument and expect that the delinquent friend will associate positively with delinquent behavior.
Although Hirsch himself failed to test the theory on gender differences in delinquents, other scholars have employed the theory to account for the gap in gender. According to their findings, the social bonding theory can equally account for both male and female involvement in delinquent behaviors. In contrast, other studies found that the components of the theory have a different impact on male and female offenders. These findings suggest that there is a need for gender-specific theories. A more detailed description of the bonds and how they are linked to gender delinquency is as follows.
Some studies have found that commitment affects equally on both male and female delinquency. In contrast, whereas one study found that involvement is more strongly related to male delinquency, others concluded that commitment was more strongly associated with female delinquency. Several studies found that belief has a stronger negative impact on female delinquency. Several others found that belief has a similar effect on the delinquency of females and males.
Regarding involvement, it was found in some studies that involvement was a stronger factor in female delinquency rather than for male delinquency. Nevertheless, some studies found that involvement has equal effects on both male and female deficiency cases. In terms of attachment to the family, some studies concluded that attachment has a similar effect on female and female delinquency. Others found that as much as a family attachment was a reliable predictor of female delinquency, and it was a slightly more influential factor for male delinquency. In terms of family supervision, a majority of the studies indicated that girls were more supervised than boys concerning delinquent behavior were. In contrast, some studies revealed the opposite, that family supervision played a more critical role for males.
On the attachment to school, researchers concluded that attachment to school has a similar impact on male and female delinquent behavior. However, one study concluded that it has a stronger effect on males while others found it had a more substantial influence on females. Regarding attachment to peers, some studies indicate that attachment to peers has an equal effect on both female and male delinquent acts. Others however showed that attachment to peers was a stronger predictor for male delinquents. Still, other studies showed that girls are more attached to peers than boys are. The conclusion on attachment to peers seems to be on the side of the similar impact of the peer variable for females and males.
This study intended to explore two important issues: To examine whether the same social bonding variants play similarly important roles for both genders and to identify social bonding variants that relate to females and males. In order to accomplish this, a sample of adolescents in a major Turkish city was used to test the social bonding variants on both genders in relation to school delinquency, assault, and public disturbance. According to the theory, all of the predictors are in the expected direction. When the rank of social bonding is elevated, it is less a likely possibility that both females and males will carry out delinquent behavior. In addition, social bonding variants play a more significant position for males than females. Amongst the males, belief, family supervision, school commitment, and connection to their delinquent friends are the most constant variants. GPA, conventionalities of peers, kind of schools and type of district are not linked with any of the provided dependent variants. For the females, family supervision, respect for the police force, connection to delinquent friends and belief in norms are the most constant variants. Attachment to parents, GPA, the conventionality of peers, type of district and hours spent on homework per week are not related to the provided three dependable variants.
A test ‘T’ was used in the study, to evaluate the differences of male and females in terms of the relationship between delinquent behavior and social bonding variants. The findings suggest that the social bonding theory equally explains male and female delinquency in line with the previously conducted studies (Hayes, 2005).
The study however had several limitations. First, the study included a large number of individuals, therefore; some significant results could have taken place only by chance. Second, it failed to include some kinds of delinquent behavior such as property delinquency and drug use. Therefore, it remains unknown whether there are gender differences between females and males in the connection between a social bonding variable and other kinds of delinquent behavior. Third, the final selection of classrooms was not done randomly due to several constraints. This factor can predisposition the results. In addition, this study is limited to one major city, which can hardly be considered a representative of the whole society. Finally, because the research design was cross-sectional, the study contained such issues as the absence of control for prior delinquency and casual ordering for prior delinquency.
Two possible conclusions can be drawn from the research’s findings. First, school factors (school commitment, attachment to teachers and spending 15 or more hours doing homework per week) appears to play an almost exclusive role for males than females in terms of logged public disturbance, logged assault, and recorded school delinquency. Second, in contrast to the literature that concluded social bonding variants account equally for female and male involvement in delinquent acts, the findings here however suggest the opposite at least for some of the variants. In additional contrast to the literature that revealed that the components of the social bonding theory have diverse results on male and female delinquency, this study discovered more similarities than differences. The findings of the research suggest that the social bonding theory plays an equally important role for both females and males.
The results drawn from the study tend to suggest that even when Western controls of social bonding variants are utilized, social bonding theory plays the same role in the explanation of male and female delinquency, in a society that is not Western. In spite of this fact, a notion coming from a postmodern trend known as relativism has gained prominence in the past several decades in the social sciences. The research study implicates that theories developed in one society can be applicable to other organizations, despite the geographical location.
Cabrera, D. M. T. (2001). School and non-school delinquency: the generalizability of social bonding theory among indigenous and non-indigenous high school students in the Northern Mariana Islands. Lexington, Ky: s.n.
Hayes, R. M. (2005). A meta-analytic review of social bonding theory and juvenile delinquency, with moderated meta-analysis, by gender.
CCJ 7001– Explanations of Crime
Self-Reflection – A Tool for Learning and Valuing It
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What did I learn from completing this assignment?
I learnt that the social bonding theory plays an equally important role for both females and males, which agreed with the literature that concluded, social bonding variants account equally for female and male involvement in delinquent acts. This study concluded the opposite at least in some variants. In addition, I learned that school factors (school commitment, attachment to teachers and spending 15 or more hours doing homework per week) appears to play an almost exclusive role for males than females in terms of logged public disturbance, logged assault, and recorded school delinquency.
What was confusing or challenging about this assignment and why?
I found the fact that the study failed to include some kinds of delinquent behavior such as property delinquency and drug use a challenge to concluding the findings of the study. Conclusions on drug use especially would have been vital to the study because it is a common vice among the female and male youth. Therefore, it remains unknown whether there are gender differences between females and males in the connection between a social bonding variable and other kinds of delinquent behavior.
How well did this assignment relate to your learning expectations for this course?
The assignment answered many questions that I had while taking this course. One particular one is whether some theories developed in one society can be applicable to other organization, despite geographical location. In addition, it has increased my knowledge in understanding and relating with delinquents.