Delinquency in Three Cultures

By Carl M. Rosenquist; Edwin I. Megargee | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

The basic problem that the present study confronted was the cross- cultural generality of patterns of delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is ultimately defined by the local representatives of middle-class society. Despite this, would characteristics that have been found typical of delinquents in the Northeastern United States also apply to delinquents in the Southwestern United States or in Mexico? Are the personality dynamics of the delinquent who is a member of an underprivileged minority group different from those of delinquents who are members of the dominant ethnic group? Are the attitudes and family backgrounds of lower-class juvenile delinquents in Anglo, Latin, or Mexican society significantly different from those of other members of the lower class who are not known to be delinquent?

In addition to their theoretical significance, the answers to these questions could have considerable practical importance. If few differences were found between delinquent and nondelinquent members of the lower class in the various societies, it could be inferred that the best method of preventing juvenile delinquency would be through a broad attack on the basic problems and attitudes of the lower class itself. If significant differences between delinquents and nondelinquents were found, however, it would indicate that specific solutions to the problems of delinquency prevention and treatment should continue to be sought. If quite different social, familial, or personality patterns were found to characterize the delinquents in the different cultural groups, or if the results of

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