U.S. flag

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

Collective Regulation of Adolescent Misbehavior: Validation Results from Eighty Chicago Neighborhoods

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Research Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: April 1997 Pages: 227-244
Date Published
18 pages

This study determined the collective social control of children is important construct that should be added to theoretical accounts and research projects that stress social regulation in families.


The study tested a neighborhood-level approach to what is often treated as a purely familial or within-household phenomenon, the informal social control of children. Study data were drawn from a multilevel assessment of 80 neighborhoods in Chicago. The theory of social disorganization and cognate theories of urban sociology guided the measurement of neighborhood constructs. Results showed that informal social control could be measured reliably at the neighborhood level and that several dimensions of neighborhood structure (concentrated poverty, ethnicity/immigration, and residential stability) explained a significant amount of the variance in child social control. Informal social control mediated 50 percent of the effect of residential stability on adolescent delinquency rates. Even after adjusting for prior neighborhood crime levels, informal social control emerged as a significant inhibitor of adolescent delinquency. Addition research is recommended to consider social regulation in families and its relation to the community context and to evaluate an integrated model that combines layers of social regulation at multiple levels. 36 references, 7 notes, and 3 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1997