The relationship between acculturation and juvenile delinquency among Puerto Rican male adolescents in the South Bronx, New York City

Maria Elizabeth Perez y Gonzalez, Fordham University

Abstract

This dissertation analyzes the effects of the integrated social control factors on the delinquency involvement of Puerto Ricans in New York City, a group often neglected in sociological studies. The Integrated Social Control model, as posited by Elliott and colleagues (1982), integrates strain, social control, and social learning theories to assess the predictors and deterrents of delinquency involvement. Although this thesis utilizes the theoretical construct of the Integrated Social Control model, the measures vary from those of Elliott et al. (1982).^ This is a cross-sectional study analyzing the data gathered by the Hispanic Research Center in 1986 on Puerto Rican self-reported delinquency patterns in the South Bronx of New York City. The sample consists of 995 Puerto Rican male adolescents from the ages of 12 through 19. The dependent variable is delinquency involvement. The independent variables consist of: strain--the Future Educational and Occupational Goal/Expectation Discrepancy scale; social control--Attitude Toward Deviance, Perceived Family Sanctions, Perceived Peer Sanctions, Family Social Isolation, Peer Social Isolation, School Involvement, and Community Involvement; and social learning--Involvement with a Delinquent Family and Involvement with Delinquent Peers. Measures of acculturation and biculturalism are tested for to determine the impact of language(s) spoken, ethnic self-identification, and entertainment preference on delinquency involvement.^ Hypothesis Number One states that strain weakens social control and strengthens social learning, which is likely to result in delinquency. Hierarchical and path regression analyses support this. In contrast to the findings of Elliott et al. (1982) strain is shown to be a significant direct predictor of delinquency involvement.^ Hypothesis Number Two states that, via the integrated social control factors, the more acculturated the adolescent is to the mainstream culture of the U.S.A., the more likely he is to be delinquent. Data analysis does not support this; however, the majority of the significant paths from the acculturation variables to the integrated social control factors are in the expected direction.^ Hypothesis Number Three states that, via the integrated social control factors, the more bicultural the adolescent is, the less likely he is to be delinquent. Data analysis does not support this except in the case of Bicultural Entertainment Preference. The significant paths between biculturalism and social control are in the expected direction.^ In summation, the Integrated Social Control model proves to be adequate for assessing predictors and deterrents of delinquency among Puerto Rican adolescents, and, overall, acculturation and biculturalism were found to have no significant effect on delinquency involvement. ^

Subject Area

Criminology|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Perez y Gonzalez, Maria Elizabeth, "The relationship between acculturation and juvenile delinquency among Puerto Rican male adolescents in the South Bronx, New York City" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9403299.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9403299

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