Eda 790 Assignment 1: Juvenile Deliquency Quantitative Research
Juvenile delinquent behavior is among the most urgent problems of the contemporary American society and educational system. It affects the families where such children and teenagers live, their teachers, neighbors, and, what is even more important, these children themselves. Delinquent conduct often leads to injuries, criminal behavior in future, incarceration, lack of education and, as the result poor professional perspectives, drug or alcohol dependency.
High school teachers regularly face delinquent behavior of the students at work. Even if the school is situated in the comparatively prestigious district, the chances to have at least one student with social and emotional problems are rather high. It is possible to assume that the problem of juvenile delinquent behavior in high schools and the ways to overcome it is a good opportunity for the further research, because it develops the urgent theme that many educators have to deal with on their career path.
The issue of juvenile delinquent behavior exists in all layers of the American society. It is possible to state that in the poorer districts where ethnic minorities live the level of delinquent behavior among the teenagers and the children is higher than in the schools that are situated in the prosperous suburbs. The criminal conduct of adult members of the families, lack of money and the decreased priority of education are among the key factors that determine the problem of anti-social behavior. Though, the children and especially the teenagers from the middle class families often tend to show delinquent conduct pattern too. The problems in the family, weak psychological connections with the parents and peers often lead to the potentially harmful and anti-social experience. As the result, the academic results significantly decrease and the student might have the negative influence on his/her peers (Zagar, Busch & Hughes, 2009, pp. 300-301).
The issue is worth researching because the development of the children and the teenagers who already have problems depends upon the actions taken by the educational specialists. The teacher who is responsible for this student at school is able to attract attention of the parents and the psychologists to the problem of the delinquent student. It is possible to state that the earlier the problem is addressed, the lower delinquency rate in future will be. Early intervening might reduce the risks to the minimum. There are several types of programs that are actively implemented nowadays. They can be divided into those that are applied after the delinquent behavior occurred and into those that try to prevent the antisocial behavior before it has fully developed. Early intervention into the development of a child reduces the chances of further criminal traits. When the delinquency is already the part of the child’s character, it becomes problematic to change the existing behavioral patterns. Among the most wide spread teenage offenses are alcohol abuse, running away, curfew violations, and truancy. All of these issues have a negative impact on the teenager’s academic success and the overall behavior, which is crucial for teachers. Though, if such teenagers receive help in time, it might seriously reduce their chances to become stable abusers in future. It is considered that early intervention and assessment give more positive results than adjudication and disciplinary focus. Working with such teenagers in a community center can help them integrate into the company of their peers, and communicate with their family under the supervision of the professional psychologist (Farrington & Welsh, 2007, p. 174).
It is possible to emphasize four key variables that lead to the appearance of the problem of juvenile delinquency. To start with, it is the social variable that supposes that the community in which the teenager or the child with the delinquent behavior lives determines his/her pattern of conduct. It can be divided into the macro community and micro community, which are the neighborhood, company of friends and family respectively. The second important variable is the financial status of the family where the juvenile lives. Lack of basic material goods often leads to the criminal behavior and aggression, while effeminate children from wealthy families tend to be arrogant and cruel to those who are poorer than they are. The thirds variable is the academic success rate of the students. It includes the SAT Math and Verbal scores, the attendance rate of the students. The fourth variable is the demographic one, which includes the information about ethnicity, residential status of the family, the number of parents, age and gender of the student.
It is necessary to understand the risk factors that lead to the development of the antisocial character in the majority of cases. The social variable is the most important one that is used for measurement of the problem. Knowing the roots might make the process of eliminating the problem easier and more effective. The main social factors of risk that determine the delinquent behavior are family, individual, peer as well as school and community risk factors. The family can influence the negative development of a child due to poverty, violence, maltreatment, teenage parenthood, family size (both families with many children and a single parent), divorce, or antisocial behavior of the parents. Individual risk factors feature such issues like problems with mental health, poor cognitive development, or hyperactivity. Peer factor is the bad influence of the company of children and teenagers of the same age, who are already involved in the delinquent behavior. Access to weapons, poor academic performance, and low cognitive abilities are the main characteristics of the community and school risk factors (Koffman et al., 2009, pp. 240-241). It is difficult to find a child whose antisocial behavior is determined by the only factor. In the majority of cases, the groups of risk are interconnected and one factor is determined by the existence of another. Such interconnections emphasize the need to approach the problem of juvenile delinquency in complex (Olds et al., 2009, pp. 70-72).
The ethnicity is the main demographic variable that would be used in the current research. From their school years, minorities experience the influence of stereotypes towards them. Teachers might think that these young people are less clever than their White peers. Parents of their classmates might ask their white children not to make friendship with Black or Hispanic children because they are a bad company. When a person hears from the early years that he/she is a bad company for someone only because of the ethnicity, the opposition is inevitable. That is why it is a problem of the formation of public opinion from the early school years.
The study will be done on the basis of 500 students, who will be divided into sub-groups. The first group will consist of children from elementary school who have psychological problems with social adaptation and academic experience. The second group will consist of high school students who have already had minor status offends.
The current study aims at answering the following research questions: 1) What are the reasons that lead to juvenile delinquent behavior (social, financial, demographic factors)? 2) What steps can be done be the educational institution to decrease the existing delinquent conduct and to prevent possible cases among the potentially delinquent students?
Farrington, D.P., & Welsh, B. C. (2007). Save children from a life of crime. Criminology & Public Policy 6(4): 871-79.
Koffman, S., Ray, A., Berg, S., Covington, L., Albarran, N.M., & Vasquez (2009). Impact of a comprehensive whole child intervention and prevention program among youths at risk of gang involvement and other forms of delinquency. Children & Schools 31(4): 239-45.
Olds, D., Petit, L.M., Robinson, J., Henderson, C., Eckenrode, J., Kitzman, H.,…& Powers, J. (1998). Reducing risks for antisocial behavior with a program of prenatal and early childhood home visitation. Journal of Community Psychology 26(1): 65-83.
Zagar, R., Busch, K.G., & Hughes, J.R. (2009). Empirical risk factors for delinquency and best treatments: Where do we go from here? Psychological Reports 104(1): 279-308. Academic Search Premier.