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Delinquency in a Chinese Birth Cohort, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
122 pages
Publication Series
This study used longitudinal data to examine the delinquency rate of Chinese youth born during 1973.
This study is a continuation of the research that was begun by American criminologist Marvin Wolfgang previous to his death in 1998. Wolfgang was attempting to replicate his famous studies on delinquency patterns in birth cohorts in China. After his death, his research in China was continued and the results are discussed in this paper. The site of the study was Wuhan, China, where researchers identified a birth cohort of 5,338 persons who were born in 1973 in the Wuchange District of Wuhan. From the 5,338 person cohort, a control sample of 81 persons was matched by gender, neighborhood, parental economic status and occupation, and neighborhood school district. A small data set comprised of 162 individuals was originally used to obtain statistical information. Results from both data sets indicate that offenders differed from their non-offending peers in regard to peer influences, family background and influences, and in their school performance. Offenders reported a greater commitment to individual wealth, power, influence, and enjoyment than did their non-offending peers. Non-offenders were more likely to express traditional social values, morals, and to have personal expectations regarding greater social integration, achievement, and cultural awareness. These findings are consistent with findings on crime and delinquency patterns found in Western cultures. The results lend support to several leading criminological theories, including differential association, control theory, and social integration models. Other conclusions note that the findings indicate that the Chinese criminal justice policy of prevention, early intervention, and informal processing appears to be working in that delinquency is not a widespread problem in this area. Finally, the authors note the significance of the study in that it was the first birth cohort study to be completed in a developing nation. Furthermore, the results lend support to many of the main criminological tenants espoused in Western criminology. References

Date Published: January 1, 2003