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The Generality of Deviance in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood D. Wayne Osgood; Lloyd D. Johnston; Patrick M. O'Malley; Jerald G. Bachman  Ameri can Sociologic al Review , Vol. 53, No. 1. (Feb., 1988), pp. 81-93. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28198802%2953%3A1%3C81%3ATGODIL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-R  American Sociological Review is currently published by American Sociological Association. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/journals/asa.html . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic  journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. http://www.jstor.org Thu Nov 29 03:29:19 2007

Deviance in Early Adulthood

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The Generality of Deviance in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood

D. Wayne Osgood; Lloyd D. Johnston; Patrick M. O'Malley; Jerald G. Bachman

 American Sociological Review, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Feb., 1988), pp. 81-93.

Stable URL:


 American Sociological Review is currently published by American Sociological Association.

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtainedprior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content inthe JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.

Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/journals/asa.html.

Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.

The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers,and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community takeadvantage of advances in technology. For more information regarding JSTOR, please contact [email protected].

http://www.jstor.orgThu Nov 29 03:29:19 2007

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University of Nebraska, Lincoln PATRICKM. O ' M A L L E Y ,

JERALDG . B A C H M A NThe University of Michigan

Because a wide variety of deviant behaviors are positively correlated with one another,some researchers c onclude that all are manife stations of a single general ten den cy. Th epresent analysis incorporated three waves of self-reports about heavy alcohol use,marijuana use, use of other illicit drugs, dangerous driving, and other criminalbehavior for a nationally representative sam ple of high school sen iors. A relativelystable general invo lvement in deviance accounted for virtually all association be twee ndifferent types of deviance , but the stability of each behav ior could only be explained byequally important and stable specific influences. Thus, theories that treat different

deviant behaviors as alternative manifestations of a single general tendency canaccount for som e, but far from all, of the meaningful variance in these behaviors. Theonly significant influence of one type of deviance on another was that of marijuana useon later use of other illicit drug s. The causal mo del a lso revealed interpretable shifts znthe associations among these behaviors ove r the four years following high schoo l.


Research has firmly established that a widerange of deviant behaviors are positivelycorrelated with one another during adolescence

and early adulthood (e.g . , Akers 1984; Donovanand Jessor 1985; Elliott and Hu izinga 1984;Johnston, O'Malley, and Eveland 1978). Thispaper concerns the sources of that associationand its significance for theories of deviance . W ewill be particularly concerned with the possibil-ity that deviance is a unified phenomenon, withvarious behaviors serving as alternative manifes-tations of a more general tendency.

There are two plausible general explanationsfor correlations among deviant behaviors . Thefirst is that engaging in one form of deviant

behavior leads to engaging in others as well.Many people believe that there are causal linksbetween some forms of deviance, particularlythat drug use leads to crime. The secondexplanation is that different deviant behaviorsare related because they have shared influences.For example, the factors that lead people tobecome sexually active at an early age might bethe same as (or at least overlap) those that leadthem to use marijuana. To the degree that thesame factors are major sources of all deviant

* Direct D. Osgood,Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska,Lincoln. NE 68588-0324.

behaviors, it is meaningfu l to speak of a generalsyndrome of deviance (Donovan and Jessor1985) .

Sociologists have offered many definitions ofdeviance. (For a general discussion, see Gibbs

1981, ch. 2.) Our concerns center on behaviorsocially defined as undesirable rather than o n thesocial processes that lead certain individuals tobe labeled deviants. Jessor and Jessor (1977)offer a clear definition of deviance (which theyrefer to as problem behavior): it is "behaviorthat is socially defined as a problem, a source ofconcern, or as undesirable by the norms ofconvention al society a nd the institutions of adultauthority, and its occurrence usually elicitssome kind of social control response." ( p . 33)Our study examines several deviant behaviors.

By definition, all deviant behaviors violateconventional standards of behavior. Even so,each deviant behavior may be a uniquephenomenon requiring a separate explanation,or the various deviant behaviors may form aunified phenomenon with a single explanation.This is an empirical question with major importto theories of deviance. The generality ofdeviance across different types of behavior willbe a function of the degree to which thebehaviors have the same influences.

Generality versus specificity is a relevantissue in m an y areas o f ~ s o c i o 1 0 ~ ~ .or instance,we speak of social status as encompassing

income, education, and occupational prestige;the transienc y, pove*y9 an d physical deteriora-

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tion, and social mobility. These are meaningfulgroupings that have conceptual coherence, butthey may or may no t constitute unified em piricalphenom ena. If social stratification is empiricallygeneral across its different manifestations, thenexplaining one fo rm of stratification is sufficientto explain them all. In this case, plausibletheories of stratification would look quitedifferent than if the different forms occurindependently of one another. Our frameworkfor assessing the generality of deviance isapplicable to other concepts as well.

Our approach to analyzing generali ty versusspecificity transcends any particular theoreticalposit ion. We do not focus on the role of an apriori set of explanatory variables, such asJackson et al. 's (1986) assessment of specificity

based on differential association theory. Instead,we partition all reliable variance into generaland specific components on the basis ofcovariance among various deviant behaviors in alongitudinal research design.


Most sociological theories are consistent withdeviance being general across different behav-iors. Almost any explanation offered for one

behavior has been offered fo r others as well. Forinstance, social scientists have argued that peerinfluence leads to early cigarette smoking(Krosnick and Judd 1982), early sexual inter-course (Billy and Udry 1985), marijuana use(Kandel 1978), and criminal behavior (Suth-erland and Cressey 1955). Models emphasizingsocial learning (Akers 1977), subcultural norms(Coleman 196 I), enhancement of self-esteem(Kaplan 1975), and social bonds (Hirschi 1969)have been proposed for a variety of deviantbehaviors, and some theorists have simulta-

neously addressed several forms of deviancewithin a s ingle explanatory framework (e.g. ,Elliott , Huizinga, and Ageton 1985; Jessor andJessor 1977; and Kaplan 1975).

While many social explanations indicate howdifferent deviant behaviors might have influ-ences in common, explanations vary in thedegree to w hich the process causing one deviantbehavior will jointly produce others. Forinstance, Akers' social learning approach (1977)explains each deviant behavior as a result ofassociating with people who model and rein-

force that behavior. The processes of modelingand reinforcement lead to both alcohol use andtheft only to the degree that associates whosupport one also support the other. Thus, in


generality of deviance is that different deviantbehaviors are manifestations of a single under-lying construct. Jessor and his colleagues haveposited that a variety of deviant behaviors forma "syndrome ," which is directly caused by ageneral latent variable of unconventionality(Donovan an d Jessor 1985; Jessor and Jessor1977). Hirschi (1984) explains the relationshipbetween drug use and delinquency in a similarmanner, stating that the two are not merelyinfluenced by some of the same factors, but"they are manifestations of the same thing" (p .51). This "thing" is criminality, which hedefines as "the tendency or propensity of theindividual to seek short term, immediate plea-sure" (p. 51). According to Hirschi 's socialcontrol theory (1969), criminality results from

the absence of social bonds. Hirschi andGottfredson have recently articulated wide-ranging theoretical ramifications of the conceptof criminality, with its image of deviantbehavior as a manifestation of general andrelatively stable individual differences (Gott-fredson and Hirschi 1986; Hirschi and Gott-fredson 198 3, 198 6). For our purposes, the mostimportant implication of the positions taken byJessor and colleagues and by Hirschi andGottfredson is that explaining a general ten-dency toward deviance is sufficient to account

for a large group of behaviors and that causesspecific to any particular form of deviance arerelatively unimportant.

The intermediate position is that a generalcause, alienation from the norms of conven-tional society, is a partial determinan t of a rangeof deviant behaviors . Cloward and Ohlin (1960)argue that the com mu nity 's i l legitimate opportu-nity structure shapes the specific deviance thatwill result, while Elliott et al. (1985) point tosocial learning from the peer group. Suchtheories predict substantial, but not complete,

generality of deviance.


Taking the notion of the generality of devianceto its limit would preclude any influence of one

type of deviant behavior on another. In thiscase, influences specific to particular forms ofdeviance not only would be unimportant, butnonexistent. Given a propensity toward devi-ance, the specific deviant behaviors in which aperson engages at any time would be strictlyrandom. It then follows that there would beperfect correlations among different deviantbehaviors, limited only by the reliability of their

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possible for different deviant behaviors to havesome influences in common and some influ-ences that are specific, including one behaviorserving as a partial cause of another.

Thou gh w e know of no theories that explicitlypredict influences between specific deviantbehaviors, such influences would be consistentwith several theories.1 Consider a person w hobegins to use m arijuana regularly. This behaviorcould lead to rejection by conventional peergroups and increased association with peergroups that approve of various forms ofdeviance. If so, social learning from the newgro up could result in other deviant behaviors, a scould weakened bonds to conventional groups.If the marijuana use was detected by authorityfigures, then labeling theory predicts the devel-

opment of a deviant identity and secondarydeviance (Lemert 1972), which presumablywould encompass a variety of behaviors.

Available Evidence

Several studies are pertinent to the gene rality ofdeviance and the so urces of positive correlationsbetween various deviant behaviors. Findingsabout shared influences appear in studies thatrelate the same explanatory variables to severaldifferent deviant behaviors and in analyses of

the factor structure of covariance among behav-iors. Influence between specific deviant behav-iors has been investigated through longitudinalresearch measuring the sam e behaviors at two o rmore times.

Elliott et al. (1985) and Jessor and Jessor(1977) investigated a variety of causal factors,and their findings support the possibility thatshared influences create relationships betweendifferent devian t behaviors. Factors that stronglyinfluenced one deviant behavior (such asdelinquency) similarly influenced other behav-

iors (such as alcohol and drug use).On the other hand, some research indicates

that certain causal factors are more im portant forone deviant behavior than for others . Forinstance, Ka ndel, Kessler, and Margulies (1978)concluded that parental influences were muchless important for marijuana use than for use ofother illicit drugs. Johnston (1973) found thatideological alienation related to some forms ofillicit drug use, but not others, and not tocigarette use, alcohol use, or delinquency.These findings imply that involvement in

deviance is not completely general acrossbehaviors.

Studies such as these have limited value for

determining the importance of shared versusspecific influences on different deviant behav-iors. Whatever the findings, their implicationsare limited to the role of the finite set ofexplanatory variables included in the research.The shared influences identified by Elliott et al.and by Jessor and Jessor might be of littleconsequence compared to specific influencesfrom variables they did not study. Conversely,the specific influences identified by Kandel etal. an d Johnston might be trivial departures froma larger pattern of shared influences. Directlyassessing the generality of deviance requires anapproach that is not limited to measuredinfluences.

The work of Donovan and Jessor (1985)illustrates such an approach. They focused on

covariance among deviant behaviors rather thanon the relationships of the behaviors to potentialexplanatory variables. Using confirmatory fac-tor analysis, Donovan and Jessor determinedthat a variety of behaviors formed a generalsyndrome of deviance. Their results indicatethat a single latent variable is sufficient toaccount for covariance among the behaviors ,and they replicate this result for several samples.

Nevertheless, further evidence is neededbefore accepting Donovan and Jessor's conclu-sions. Their analyses are cross-sectional, and,

therefore, they could not distinguish betweencovariance due to shared influences and covari-ance due to an influence of one behavior onanother. Furthermore, not all behaviors werewell explained by the general syndrome. Inmany instances, the latent variable accountedfor less than 10 percent of the variance ofspecific behaviors. Though their conclusionsimply that any remaining variance was simplyerror of measurement, their method provides nomeans of differentiating error of measurementfrom m eaningful varianc e specific to a particular

variable.Tw o studies have used longitudinal data from

nationally representative samples to assessinfluence between crime (or delinquency) andillicit drug use. Both Johnston, O'Malley, andEveland (1978) and Elliott and Huizinga (1984)concluded that shared influences are the majorsource of the relationship between these behav-iors and that influence of one behavior onanother is relatively unimportant. Nevertheless,neither study strictly rules out the possibility ofinfluence between behaviors , and each provides

some evidence of such influences. Johnston etal. 's cross-lag panel analysis yielded pathcoefficients consistent with modest reciprocalinfluence between the behaviors (p. 151).

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8 4 A M E R I C A N S O C I O L O G IC A L R E V I E W

Mori juono


T ~ m eOne Time Two T ~ m e hree

Fig. 1. A Causal Model Differentiating General and Specific Influences on Deviant Behaviors

causal modeling for panel data (e.g. , Kesslerand Greenberg 1981) to advance our understand-

ing of the relationships between different formsof deviance. We develop a s tructural equationmodel that separates general and specificcomponents of each behavior. The longitudinalaspect of our study allows us to examine theimportance of general involvement in deviancenot only in terms of the size of the generalcomponent for each behavior (as in Donovanand Jessor's 1985 analysis), but also to compareit directly to reliable specific variance and toassess the stability of both over time. Our testfor influence between specific variables im-

proves on earlier work by addressing severaltypes of dev ianc e, by explicitly mod eling sharedinfluences, and by allowing for error ofmeasurement. Finally, by covering several yearsof the age span, the model can relate changingage norms to shifts in the strength of connec-tions between individual behaviors an d a generalsyndrome of deviance.


Causal Models

Ou r basic causal mo del is illustrated in Figure 1.For simplicity of presentation, this figure islimited to two behaviors: criminal behavior andmarijuana use. Th e model incorporates a general

specific to each behavior, and influence of onebehavior on another.

The causal model is unusual in that each be-havior serves as an indicator of the ge neral factorand also has unique aspects that may influenceother variables. In effect, we divide measures ofbehavior into three components: variance sharedwith a general tendency toward deviance; reli-able variance specific to the behavior; and errorof measurement . The model inc ludes dis tur-bance terms for all latent variables as well.

The model will be identified given threeconditions. First, there can be no correlatederrors between the general and specific latent

variables. S econd , there must be constraints onthe error terms of the observed variables, or thespecific variances will be undefined. Weobtained meaningful estimates by assuming thatall influence of wave one on wave three ismediated by wave two and that reliability isconstant over t ime2 (Kessler and Greenberg

'A n equally plausible assumption is that error

variance, rather than reliability, was constant. For these

data, the assumption of equal reliability proved superior:

it yielded consistent and interpretable estimates, while theassumptio n of constant error variance resulted in negative

estimates of residual variance. Because reliability refers

to the proportion of error variance (rather than the

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1981, p . 147-50). Th ird, the num ber of pathsamong the specific variances must be limited.Within each wave, one degree of freedom perbehavior is absorbed by estimating influencesfrom general deviance, and one degree offreedom between adjacent waves is absorbed byestimating the stability of general deviance. Theformer reduces the number of possible errorpaths among contemporaneous specific vari-ances, while the later reduces the number ofpossible longitudinal influences between them .

The importance of the general tendency isreflected both by the strength of its paths to eachbehavior an d by its stability o ver time. If all thebehaviors are interchangeable manifestations ofthe general tendency (the extreme version of theshared-influence hypothesis), there will be no

meaningful variance specific to the separatebehaviors. In this case, a simpler model wouldbe adequate to account for the data, a model inwhich each behavior is comprised only ofgeneral deviance and error of measurement, andthe stability of g eneral de viance is th e' onlylongitudinal influence. On the other hand, thepresence of a substantial amount of stablespecific variance would indicate that the variousforms of deviance canno t be fully explained by asingle cau sal process.

Because the model in Figure 1 divides each

deviant behavior into general and specificcomponents, it separates the influence of onebehavior on ano ther from their associations withgeneral deviance. Influences between behaviorsare indicated by paths from one specificvariance to a different specific variance at thenext time. The dashed lines in Figure 1

represent such an influence of marijuana use oncriminal behavior.

It is important that the model also take intoaccount error of measurement; fail ing to do sowould cause bias in estimates of causal paths.

Given a set of uniformly positively relatedvariables such as these, the bias will be towardspurious positive influences among behaviors.This might explain the apparent influencebetween drug use and delinquency in earlierresearch (Elliott and Hu izinga 1984; Johnston etal . 1978).


The data we analyze were collected as part ofthe Monitoring the Future study (Osgood,

Johnston, O'Malley, and Bachman 1985 ). For adetailed description of the sample design anddata collection, see Bachman and Johnston(1978). For a full listing of variables, see

in 1975, a wide range of information is gatheredfrom a nationally representative sample of highschool seniors each year. ' Data for the presentanalysis come from the follow-up portion of thestudy, which is based on a subsample of eachsenior class. Half of the participants in thefollow-up study complete questionnaires inevery odd-numbered year after graduation, andthe other half do so in every even-numberedyear. The present analysis used three waves of

data, provided at approximate ages of 18, 19,and 21, or 18, 20, and 22 . The analysis waslimited to white respondents, since the blacksubsample is somewhat less representative dueto differential high school drop-out rates. Thefollow-up study over-samples the more seriousdrug users in high school to obtain more

accurate estimates for this segment of thepopulation. The over-sampled individuals arethen given smaller weights in analyses toproduce a representative sample. There were975 respondents in the sample, coming from thehigh school senior classes of 1976 though 1980,yielding a weighted sample of 717 cases.

Initial involvement in the behaviors beingstudied typically occurs at earlier ages than areincluded in this samp le ( e .g . , Elliott andHuizinga 1984). We do not consider this ashortcoming of our study . We reject the point of

view that a deviant behavior is "caused" atsome time of "onset," after which it isself-perpetuating until it is "caused" to stop.Instead, we assume that a behavior occurs whenits causes are present and does not occur whenthey are absent. As our results demonstrate, thestability of these behaviors is far from perfect,meaning that there is a great deal of changeindependent from the general age trends. Thus,there is just as much need to explain persistenceof deviant behavior as to explain its onset andcessation. As Hirschi (1984, p. 50) has

articulated, it is not at all clear that "onset" is ameaningful concept for deviant behavior. It isonly in retrospect that getting drunk for the firsttime can be called the onset of alcoholism.Asking whether the first marijuana cigaretteprecedes the first incident of theft is a much lessmean ingful question than asking whether currentmarijuana use has an influence on later criminalbehavior.

"ach year, a three-s tage national probability sam ple

leads ro questionnaire administrations in approximately130 high scho ols (roughly 110 public and 20 private).

This procedure yields between 1 5.00 0 and 19,0 00

respondents. A random one-fifth of each annual sample

completes the version of the questionnaire that includes

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Table 1. Goodness of Fit of Alternative Models

AI. Null Model ,000

Measurement models11. All possible within-wave relationships, no longitudinal relationships ,461

111. One general factor at each wave, no correlated errors, no longitudinalrelationships ,427

IV. One general factor at each wave, 11 correlated errors, no longitudinalrelationships ,460

Longitudinal modelsV. Stable general factor, no stable specific factors ,715VI. Stable general and specific factors ,982VII. Stable general and specific factors, plus longitudinal influence among

all specific factors ,992

VIII . Stable general and specific factors, plus influence of marijuana useon other illicit drug use ,986

Note: Models V-VIII include 10correlated errors (se e footnote 5) .

d. f . x2 P

105 4,563 .94 0.

75 2,461.63 0.

90 2,615.21 0.

79 2,465.94 0.

78 1,298.88 0.63 80.11 .07

43 36.07 .76

61 63.90 .38


Ou r analysis is based on self-report measu res offive different types of deviant behavior: crimina lbehavior (limited to illegal behavior directed atvictims); heavy alcohol use; marijuana use; useof other illicit drugs; and dangerous driving. Wechose these behaviors because they represent abroad range of the conventionally proscribedactivit ies that are com mo n during this age spa n.Research on the factor structure of substanceabuse has shown that use of alcohol, marijuana,and hard drugs are relatively distinct phenomena(e.g., Hays et a1 1986), so we consider itappropriate to treat them separately. Dangerousdriving is not among the deviant behaviorstypically studied by social scientists. Neverthe-less, it is quite appropriate to our definition ofdeviance since it is generally recognized asundesirable and is subject to social controls.Furthermore, it is an exciting, risky activity thatfollows the same age trend as criminal behavior(Hirschi and Gottfredson 1983). These fivebehaviors do not exhaust the concept ofdeviance, and our results may or may notcharacterize other types of deviance.

The measure of heavy alcohol use referred tobehavior in the past two weeks, and the otherfour measures referred to behavior over the last12 months. The 14-item measure of criminalbehavior also was used in the Youth inTransition study (Bachman, O'Malley, andJohnston 1978), and is an adaptation of Gold's(1970) well-known measure. These i tems con-

cern interpersonal aggression, theft, and vandal-ism.4 Our index w as a sum across the i tem s,

each of which ranged from zero to four (forcommitting the act five or more t imes). Heavyalcohol use was measured in terms of thenumber of occasions a respondent had five ormore drinks in a row during the last two weeks,with scores ranging from zero through five (10or more). The scale for marijuana use variedfrom zero through nine (40 or mo re t imes in thelast month). Use of other illicit drugs wasmeasured as an average across eight drugs, each

scored on the same scale as marijuana use . Themeasure of dangerous driving was the sum ofreports of traffic tickets and traffic accidents,each scored as zero through fou r (four or mo re).


Goodness of Fit of Alternative Models

We compared the goodness of fit of severalalternative causal models to determine whichexplanatory factors account for observed rela-tionships between the five deviant behaviors.

The factors of interest were a general tendencytoward deviance (representing shared influ-ences); variance specific to a particular behavior(representing specific influences); and influ-ences between particular behaviors. Table 1summarizes the fi t of the models , which wereestimated by LISR EL IV (Joreskog and Sorbom1978). Chi-square values and their associated

actions that intentionally victimize other people. Theother measures pertain to either victimless crimes or

traffic.offenses (where victimization is rarely intended).For respondents who had not yet reached the age ofmajority, the variable technically refers to delinquencyrather than crime. Some analyses of these items havedistinguished interpersonal aggression from property

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probability levels indicate the lack of fit betweenthe models and the observed covariances amongthe 15 variables (five deviant behaviors, eachmeasured on three occasions). The probabilitylevels should not be taken literally, however,since these skewed data do not justify theassumption of multivariate normality. A partic-ularly useful index of fit is Bentler and Bonett'sA (1980), which is independent of sample size.Model I is the "null model," which correspondsto the assertion that all of the variables areunrelated, and A is the proportionate reductionof this chi-square provided by other models.

Measurement model. Our strategy in develop-ing the causal model was to obtain an adequatewithin-wave measurement model before testingalternative longitudinal mod els. O ur goal for the

measurement model was to divide the reliablevariance of each behavior into general andspecific components. Cross-sectional covarianceamong the five behaviors provides a basis fordefining a general factor of deviant behavior.Donovan and Jessor (1985) concluded that sucha single latent variable was sufficient to accountfor cross-sectional relationships among a varietyof deviant behaviors.

Mo del I1 serves as a standard for the fit of themeasurement model to the cross-sectional rela-tionships, since it incorporated all possible

relationships within each w ave but did no t allowany relationships between waves. The reductionin X 2 provided by this model is equal to the sumof the X 2 values for the null models of the threewithin-wave covariance matrices. For Model 11,A = ,46 1, meaning that 46 percent of the totalchi-square value was due to cross-sectionalrelationships and 54 percent was due tolongitudinal relationships.

Model I11 is the basic measurement model,allowing for a single general factor at eachwave. This model explained a large share of the

cross-sectional relationships (A = .427), thougha significant amount of within-wave covariationremained (comparing Models I1 and 111: AII.III= , 0 3 4 , d . f . = 15, x = 153.58, p = 0 . ) .Th is finding is in substantial agreem ent with theresults of Donovan and Jessor (1985), in that ageneral factor accounts for 93 percent of thechi-square value attributable to within-waverelationships (AIII/AII).Though we found signif-icant lack of fit for a single-factor model wherethey did not, this is likely d ue only to our largersample s ize.

The discrepancy in fit between Models I1 andI11 shows that some pairs of deviant behaviorswere more strongly correlated with one anotherthan is consistent with a single-facto r mod el. B y

models could lead to spurious longitudinalpaths.

Model IV allowed for several correlatederrors within each wave in addition to a generalfactor. This model accounted for virtually all ofthe within-wave covariance (AII.Iv = , 001 , d . f .= 4 , X 2 = 3 . 31 , p > .25), and it served as themeasurement m odel for the longitudinal models .It incorporated correlated errors between heavydrinking and marijuana use, marijuana use andother illicit drug use, criminal behavior anddangerous driving, and heavy drinking andd a n g e r o u s d r i ~ i n g . ~

Longitudinal models. Model V was estimatedto test the extreme version of the shared-influences hypothesis. In this model, all longi-tudinal relationships are explained by the

stability of a general tendency toward deviance.The only latent variable at each wave wasgeneral deviance, so all specific variance wastreated as error variance in the observedvariables.

Model V accounted for roughly half of thelongitudinal covariation (Av = ,715 ; Av.II/[l -AII] = .47), and left a highly significant andsubstantively important portion of the totalcovariance unexplained. Clearly, an adequatemod el requires longitudinal influences involvingspecific components.

The remaining models are variations on themod el illustrated in Figure 1 . Each ob servedvariable was modeled as a function of a latentvariable of general deviance, a latent variable ofspecific variance, and error of measurement.These models included paths for the stability ofthe latent variables, and we assumed that allinfluence of wave one on wave three wasmediated by wave two and that reliability wasconstant over time.

Model VI expanded on Model V by allowingfor a stable, specific component of each

behavior as well as for general deviance; it didnot allow for any influences between differentforms of deviance. This model fit the data quitewell (A = .98 2) , indicating that the vast majorityof longitudinal covariation was attributable tothe stabilities of the general factor and of thereliable variance specific to each behavior.

To avoid inflated estimates of the variance each

measure shared with the common factor, only positive

correlated error paths were included. The path between

heavy drinking and dangerous driving became negativeand insignificant for the third wave, so it was eliminated.

In models incorporating longitudinal influences (Models

V- VII I), the path betwe en marijuana use and other

illicit drug use was removed for the same reason. The

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Table 2 . Variance Components and Reliabilities

Mean Variance Rel.

Criminal behaviorTime 1 2.77 16.59 .70

Time 2 1.98 12.06 .70Time 3 1.37 7.13 .70

Heavy alcohol useTime 1 .97 1.80 .70Time 2 1.09 1.86 .70Time 3 1.08 1.89 .70

Marijuana useTime 1 2.06 7.99 .90Time 2 2.29 8.17 .90Time 3 2.16 7.99 .90

Other illicit drug use

Time 1 .12 ,139 .76Time 2 .14 ,135 .76Time 3 .16 ,159 .76

Dangerous driving

Time 1 .81 1.58 .49Time 2 .83 1.38 .49Time 3 .64 1.04 .49

W e evaluated the fi t of Mo del VII as a generaltest of the hypothesis that there are longitudinalinfluences of some specific deviant behaviors onothers . This model allowed for influence of eachspecific factor on all others at the subsequent

wave. For this model to be identified, it wasnecessary to constrain between-behavior influ-ences from wave one to wave tw o to be equal tothose from wave two to wave three.6 Thisconstraint also increases the power of the test,provided influences are roughly similar acrossthe two time intervals . Model VII yielded asmall, but significant, improvement in fit,which indicates the presence of influencebetween specific deviant behaviors (AVII-VI =.010, d . f . = 20 , X2 = 44.01, p = .001).

The coefficients for Model VII and the

residuals and firs t derivatives for Model VIsuggested that the strongest influence betweenspecific factors was that of marijuana use onlater use of other illicit drugs. In Model VIII,this path was added to those allowed in ModelVI, yielding A = .986 and significant reductionin chi-square (AvIII.vI = .004, d.f. = 2 , X2 =

Identification becomes an issue because there areonly as many degrees of freedom arising from conela-

tions between adjacent waves as there are possible pathsbetween specific behaviors. Allowing all of these paths

would leave no degrees of freedom for the stability ofgeneral deviance. While our solution of assuming equalinfluence across both intervals provides sufficient con-straints to generate estimates, it is evident from the very


Proportion ofVariance Components Reliable Var.

General Specific Error General Specific

16.21, p < .001). The fi t of this model wasexcellent, with the chi-square value virtuallyequal to the number of degrees of freedom.Furthermore, adding other paths between spe-cific deviant behaviors did not significantly

improve the fit of this model. Thus, we foundevidence of influence between specific forms ofdeviant behavior, but this influence was verycircumscribed.

Path Estimates

Variance components. Table 2 shows the meansand variances of the five measures for eachwave, along with the division of the varianceinto general, specific, and error compone nts thatis implied by the path estimates of Model VIII.8

Our presentation of the model departs fromcommon practice by emphasizing variancecomponents and explained variance as much as

'Though this is only one significant cross-behaviorpath out of a possible twenty, we are confident that it isnot a chance relationship. Comparing Models VI and VIIgives clear evidence of influence between specific

behaviors, and the pair of paths from marijuana use tolater use of other illicit drugs is significant far beyond thechance level of .05. Even allowing for the non-normalityof our data, it is not plausible that a relationship of this

magnitude would occur by chance.The variance components are equal to the square of a

measure's loading on the relevant latent variable(lambda) times the variance of that latent variable. Thevariance components do not sum to the exact amount of

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or more than path estimates. While this would

not be desirable for most models, it is quite

useful given our interest in comparing the

importance of general and specific explanations

for each deviant behavior. The variance compo-

nents provide a straightforward comparison by

combining the variance of the latent variables

with their loadings on the observed variables,

placing general and specific components in a

shared metric.

Means and variances were relatively constant

over time for heavy drinking, marijuana use,

and other illicit drug use, but both statistics

declined for criminal behavior and dangerous

driving. This age trend is well documented for

both of these behaviors (Hirschi and Gottfredson


Reliability is defined as the proportion ofnon-error variance for a measure. The measure

of marijuana use had the highest reliability

(.90), while the measure of dangerous driving

had the lowest (.49). Reliability for the

remaining measures ranged from .70 through

.76. Estimates for the three types of substance

use are consistent with earlier analyses of these

measures (O'Malley, Bachman, and Johnston

1983). It is understandable that the measure of

dangerous driving would have the lowest

reliability, since this behavior was assessed

indirectly through reports of traffic tickets andaccidents.

All estimates of paths from the general factors

to the measured variables were highly signifi-

cant (all t > 6.2), indicating that each behavior

shared substantial variance with the others.

Thus, these five deviant behaviors are poten-

tially subject to some degree of shared explana-

tion. Nevertheless, the importance of general

deviance varied considerably across behaviors,

and for some of the behaviors this proportion

changed with time as well. Comparisons across

behaviors are most straightforward in terms ofthe proportion of reliable variance (i.e., non-

error variance) associated with the general and

specific factors.

At all three times, criminal behavior was the

form of deviance most closely associated with

the general tendency, and dangerous driving

was the behavior least associated. The propor-

tion of reliable variance associated with the

general factor ranged from 27 percent to 74

percent, but it rose above 50 percent only for

criminal behavior.

There was little variation across time in the

proportion of reliable variance in marijuana use

and dangerous driving associated with the

general factor. Both criminal behavior and

alcohol use remained equally prevalent but

became more independent of other types of

deviance as respondents reached legal drinking

age. Over time, the use of illicit drugs other than

marijuana became increasingly associated with

other forms of deviance.

Longitudinal relationships. Estimates for paths

among the latent variables in Model VIII appear

in Figure 2. Figure 2 is comparable to Figure 1 ,

expanded to five deviant behaviors and limited

to the latent variables. There was considerable

longitudinal stability for both general and

specific factors. The lowest unstandardized

coefficient reflecting stability was .53, and eight

of the twelve were above .75.

Note that it is very unlikely that the stability

of the specific factors would be due to memory

effects such as reporting about the sameincidents at more than one wave. The measures

concerned behavior during the past year or less,

and the interval between waves generally was

two years.

Only one pair of longitudinal paths indicated

influence between behaviors rather than stability

of a behavior. These were the paths from earlier

marijuana use to later use of other illicit drugs.

This influence was of moderate size for the

time-one to time-two interval (standardized beta

of .27), but it was insignificant for the time-two

to time-three interval (standardized beta of .09).Table 3 expresses longitudinal influences in

terms of the variance accounted for by measures

at the preceding time.9 Model VIII allows a

separation of explained variance into general

and specific components, using the original

metric of each variable. This provides a more

direct comparison of general and specific

contributions than do the path coefficients

reflecting stability. The specific variance ex-

plained is a function of the amount of specific

variance at the previous wave and the stability

of that variance (plus any influence from otherspecific behaviors). The general variance ex-

plained for a behavior is a function of both the

variance that behavior shares with the general

factor at the current wave and the stability of the

general factor.

A large proportion of the reliable variance of

all of the deviant behaviors can be explained by

earlier measures of deviant behavior, with

estimates ranging from 43 percent to 73 percent.

Generally speaking, the proportion of reliable

The variance explained by specific features of abehavior equals the amount of specific variance (see

Table 2) minus the unexplained specific variance (psi for

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54(.14),59 53(.14),60

T ~ m eOne T ~ m eTwo Time Three

Fig. 2 . Path Estimates for the Structural Model (Model VIII): Unstandardized Path Estimates Followed by theirStandard Errors (in parentheses) and Standardized Path Estimates.

variance explained by general versus specific the stability o f the specific factors. The highest

factors is as would be expected from the proportion o f reliable variance explained was for

breakdown o f the total variance into those two heavy drinking at time three (71 percent) and

categories. Thus, most o f the explained variance use o f illicit drugs other than marijuana at time

for criminal behavior is due to earlier general three (73 percent). In both cases the specific

deviance, while most o f the explained variance variance component was extremely stable from

for marijuana use is due .to earlier specific time two to time three (unstandardized betas of

variance. .93 and .92). The next highest levels o f stability

There were also some interesting variations in were for marijuana use, the other form of

Table 3 . Variance Explained by Longitudinal Influences

Variance Exp lained Percent of Reliableby Preceding Wave Variance Explained

General Specific Total Genera l Specific Total

Criminal behavior

Time 2 2.81 2 .23 5 . 01 33 .5 26 .5 60 .0

Time 3 1.18 1.30 2.78 29.7 26.1 55.9Heavy alcohol use

Time 2 .30 .13 .73 23 .1 33 .1 56 .6Time 3 .21 .68 .92 18 .6 52 .3 70 .9

Marijuana use

Time 2 1 .51 3 .08 3 .62 21 .6 13 . 3 61 .9Time 3 1.5 1 3 . 21 3 . 7 5 2 1 . 3 1 5 . 7 6 6 . 9

Othe r illicit drug use

Time 2 ,027 ,035 ,062 26 .3 31 .3 60 .7

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substance use, and its stability did not changeover time (unstandardized betas o f .83 and .84).


Our findings concerning general and specificfeatures of deviant behaviors lead to a mixedconclusion about the generality o f deviance.Hirschi (1984) and Jessor and his colleagues(Donovan and Jessor 1985; Jessor and Jessor1977) were correct that a general tendencytoward deviance could explain the positivecorrelations between dif ferent deviant behav-iors. Indeed, a single latent variable can accountfor virtually all o f their cross-sectional andlongitudinal relationships. Nevertheless, a latentvariable o f general deviance falls far short o f

explaining all o f the reliable and stable varianceo f the separate behaviors. Therefore, a theorythat addresses only the general construct cannever fully account for the separate behaviors,though it might account for much of each ofthem. Each behavior is, in part, a manifestationo f a more general tendency and, in part, aunique phenomenon.

It may still be possible to explain all o f thebehaviors within a unified framework, such aseach behavior resulting from peer-group normsfor that particular behavior or all forms o f

deviance being influenced (but not totallydetermined) by a general alienation. Even so,factors important to one behavior could beentirely irrelevant to others, as illustrated byJohnston's (1973) finding that support for thecounterculture during the Vietnam era wasstrongly correlated with certain types o f illicitdrug use, but not correlated with delinquency.

Our analysis also provided a test for theinfluence of specific deviant behaviors on oneanother. Marijuana use during the high schoolsenior year had significant impact on use of

other illicit drugs one to two years later. Duringthe subsequent two years, the influence ofmarijuana use on later use o f other illicit drugswas negligible. This result suggests that anyinfluences of one behavior on another areage-specific, perhaps depending on age-relatedrole transitions.

While this instance o f an eff ect o f onebehavior on another is o f interest, it is moreimportant for our understanding of deviance thatinfluence o f this type was so limited. Only oneo f the twenty possible paths between these fivebehaviors was statistically significant. Thoughthis does not appear to be a chance relationship,it yielded a negligible improvement in theoverall fit o f the model. It is clear that

Involvement in one form of deviant behavioris predictive o f later involvement in others, notbecause o f mutual influences, but because eachpartially reflects a general tendency towarddeviance. For instance, frequent drunkenness in

the senior year o f high school would indicate awillingness to violate conventional standards ofbehavior. Since the general tendency towarddeviance is relatively stable over time, thiswillingness is likely to become manifest in otherforms o f deviant behavior in the followingyears, as well as in the persistence o f heavydrinking.

Our analysis of the general and specificcomponents o f each o f the five behaviorsyielded interesting insights into their shiftingassociations over time. Criminal behavior proved

to be the type of deviance most closely linked tothe general tendency, though the strength of thetie declined over time, as did the rate andvariance o f this behavior. Alcohol use amonghigh school students was more strongly associ-ated with a general willingness to flout conven-tional mores than was alcohol use among adultsin their early twenties. The opposite was true foruse o f illicit drugs other than marijuana, whichbecame increasingly tied to general involvementin deviance. Though their relations to generaldeviance diverge, each of these more serious

forms o f substance abuse had unique aspectsthat became extremely stable during respon-dents' early twenties.

Since deviance is defined by conventionalstandards for behavior, we would expect theoverlap between general deviance and anyparticular behavior to fluctuate with variationsin those standards. This is illustrated by ourfinding that heavy alcohol use is less related togeneral deviance once respondents reach thelegal drinking age. Further research might applyour conceptual and analytic framework to

additional tests o f this proposition. For instance,we would expect cigarette smoking and sexualactivity to be highly related to general devianceduring early adolescence because these behav-iors are considered inappropriate at this age. Asthese activities become more acceptable in lateadolescence and early adulthood, they should beless connected to the general syndrome o fdeviance. In a similar vein, cross-cultural andtemporal comparisons would provide a basis fortesting whether normative standards influencethe strength of the connection between abehavior and general deviance.

As with any piece o f research, there arelimitations to our study that should be addressedby future work. W e of fer a picture o f the

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considered are prominent for this age group,they hardly exhaust the meaning of the largercategory of deviance.

Though our findings indicate considerablegenerality and stability of deviance, it has yet tobe determined whether this pattern holds acrossthe full range of deviant behaviors. As with

much of the research in this area, we haveconcentrated on the problem behaviors ofadolescence and early adulthood. It is not at allclear that deviance among adults, particularlymiddle-class adults, would fit the same pattern.Is the scientist who falsifies research results alsomore likely to cheat on taxes, be unfaithful tohis or her spouse, and get into fights at bars?

And do adolescent behaviors such as petty theft,illicit drug use, and dangerous driving predict a

broad range of adult deviance? There is much tolearn about the generality of deviance.


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You have printed the following article:

The Generality of Deviance in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood

D. Wayne Osgood; Lloyd D. Johnston; Patrick M. O'Malley; Jerald G. Bachman

 American Sociological Review, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Feb., 1988), pp. 81-93.

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Patterns of Adolescent Friendship and Effects on Sexual Behavior

John O. G. Billy; J. Richard Udry

Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1. (Mar., 1985), pp. 27-41.

Stable URL:http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0190-2725%28198503%2948%3A1%3C27%3APOAFAE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0

Age and the Explanation of Crime

Travis Hirschi; Michael Gottfredson

The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 89, No. 3. (Nov., 1983), pp. 552-584.

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Offense-Specific Models of the Differential Association Process

Elton F. Jackson; Charles R. Tittle; Mary Jean Burke

Social Problems, Vol. 33, No. 4. (Apr., 1986), pp. 335-356.

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Homophily, Selection, and Socialization in Adolescent Friendships

Denise B. Kandel

The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 84, No. 2. (Sep., 1978), pp. 427-436.

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