Youth Involvement in Crime: The Importance of Locus of Control and Collective Efficacy

Youth Involvement in Crime: The Importance of Locus of Control and Collective Efficacy

Youth Involvement in Crime: The Importance of Locus of Control and Collective Efficacy

Youth Involvement in Crime: The Importance of Locus of Control and Collective Efficacy

Synopsis

Ahlin uses data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods to examine the independent relationships between locus of control and collective efficacy and youth involvement in crime. She also explores the moderating effect of collective efficacy on the relationship between locus of control and crime. Findings suggest that increased locus of control inhibits criminal activity among youth, while collective efficacy does not influence individual-level criminal behavior. However, collective efficacy completely moderates the relationship between locus of control and crime; nullifying the influence of locus of control on crime. Her results suggest that while locus of control influences criminal behavior, neighborhood influences are not essential to understanding individual level involvement in crime.

Excerpt

The concepts of locus of control and collective efficacy have been used by scholars to explain involvement in individual-level crime. Scholars have found that both locus of control and collective efficacy are related to crime at the individual-level. However, research examining the relationship between locus of control and collective efficacy and its influence on youths’ involvement in crime is scant. This study uses the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) data to examine the independent influences of locus of control and collective efficacy on involvement in crime among youths ages 9 to 19, and to also explore the potential moderating effect of collective efficacy on the relationship between locus of control and crime.

The relationship between locus of control, collective efficacy, and crime is addressed by asking three questions. First, does a youth’s locus of control orientation influence their involvement in crime? Second, does collective efficacy influence youths’ involvement in crime? Third, does collective efficacy moderate the relationship between locus of control and crime? Neighborhood context, family context, and individual-level demographic variables are also examined to control for the contexts in which youths live and individual factors that can influence involvement in crime.

Using hierarchical linear modeling, the analyses indicate mixed support for a relationship between locus of control . . .

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