Journal Article

Gender, Reflected Appraisals, and Labeling: A Cross-Group Test of an Interactionist Theory of Delinquency*

Dawn Jeglum Bartusch and Ross L. Matsueda

in Social Forces

Published on behalf of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Department of Sociology

Volume 75, issue 1, pages 145-176
Published in print September 1996 | ISSN: 0037-7732
e-ISSN: 1534-7605 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sf/75.1.145
Gender, Reflected Appraisals, and Labeling: A Cross-Group Test of an Interactionist Theory of Delinquency*

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This article builds upon a symbolic interactionist model of delinquency (Matsueda 1992) by assessing whether an interactionist model can account for the gender gap in delinquent behavior. We argue that delinquency is determined in part by the self as conceived by symbolic interactionists, which in turn is determined by a process of labeling by significant others. We estimate a cross-gender model of delinquency using data from the National Youth Survey and find that, for both males and females, parental appraisals significantly affect youths' reflected appraisals, which in turn predict delinquency. Nevertheless, we find some gender interactions: for males, parental labeling and reflected appraisals have a larger effect on delinquency, and males are more likely to be falsely accused by parents. When we take into account gender differences in both levels of independent variables and the magnitude of effects of those variables, our model explains a substantial portion of the gender gap in delinquency.

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Subjects: Social Sciences

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