U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Social Organization and Differential Association: A Research Note from a Longitudinal Study of Violent Juvenile Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1988
20 pages
Social-structural dimensions of the work of Sutherland and Cressey are typically neglected in favor of the social-psychology of differential association, which attempts to explain individual crime and delinquency in terms of socialization and learning.
In this article we follow a lead from Don Cressey's article, 'Epidemiology and Individual Conduct,' and explore how differential social organization may be related to differential association. Using data from a three-year follow-up study of 130 serious juvenile offenders, we attempt to assess whether the effects of differential association variables (and others from competing theories) vary according to the social-class characteristics of the delinquents' social areas. While differential association variables were found to be the strongest predictors of delinquency, we were unable to demonstrate that their predictive efficacy varied significantly by the social class of the delinquents' social areas. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1988