The Social Side of Delinquent Behavior

Mark Warr

in The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195385106
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Social Side of Delinquent Behavior

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice
  • Corrections


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This article explores questions regarding the social side of delinquent behavior. It begins with discussing crime as a group behavior, suggesting that, as social beings, humans sometimes indulge illegal or unacceptable behavior when others are present that they would never contemplate doing alone. Following this, it reviews some evidence on the social nature of crime and delinquency. Although delinquent behavior is predominantly group behavior, some offenses are more likely to be committed in groups than others. It suggests that the motivation to engage in delinquency ordinarily arises after a group assembles and as a consequence of group interaction and then discusses the implications of sociality, focusing on peer influence and some ecological theories. The search for the social aspects of delinquency remains one of the most vital areas of research in contemporary criminology.

Keywords: delinquent behavior; group behavior; crime; sociality; peer influence; criminology; social side

Article.  8883 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice ; Corrections

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