U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Conceptual Model of Assets and Risks: Unlawful Behavior Among Adolescents

NCJ Number
Adolescent & Family Health Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: 2001 Pages: 123-131
Brent B. Benda Ph.D.
Date Published
9 pages
This study of a stratified random sample of 3,395 high school students examined a proposed theoretical model of relations between assets, deficits, and unlawful behavior (crime and use of substances), and considered whether there were gender and region of residence (urban versus rural) differences in what relations were significant.
The outcome examined in the study was the latent construct of unlawful behavior. The variables measured in relation to unlawful behavior were drug use and crime (eight items taken from a widely used delinquency scale). The measured variables hypothesized as contributing to unlawful behavior were attachment, self-esteem, parental monitoring, religiosity, caregiver substance abuse, and peer association. Several hypothesized relations were supported; for example, attachment to caregivers was inversely related to unlawful behavior among females; whereas, delinquent peer association and use of excuses were positively related to this behavior only among males. Within-gender comparisons showed that religiosity had a larger inverse relationship to unlawful behavior in rural than in urban settings; however, the relation between religiosity and unlawful behavior for rural males was commensurate to the one for urban females. Parental monitoring also had a larger inverse relationship to unlawful behavior among males than among females. Being abused and caregiver substance abuse also had positive relationships to unlawful behavior among all four subgroups. The implications of these findings for future research are discussed. 4 figures, 2 tables, and 53 references