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Delinquency and Social Values - Differences Between Delinquent and Nondelinquent Adolescents

NCJ Number
Youth and Society Volume: 11 Issue: 3 Dated: (March 1980) Pages: 353-368
M A Hudak; J Andre; R O Allen
Date Published
16 pages
Several key social values believed to be central to social adjustment versus deviancy are considered to assess the extent to which selected social values have been functionally adopted by delinquents.
In comparing delinquent versus nondelinquent response patterns, six psychological measures were used. These measures were the empathy scale (indicating compliance by nondelinquents low on socialization with social rules if they develop a compensating empathic disposition), the socialization scale (So), the Machiavellianism scale (Mach--wherein one manipulates others for one's own ends), the compulsion-compassion scale (Compul) and the social cube analysis that involves the Andre Psychopolitical Scale (TAPS) and the Andre Psychopolitical Differential (APD)--a cube involving power versus love, freedom versus security, and emotionality versus rationality). Six questionnaires were administered to 32 male and female incarcerated juvenile offenders and to 32 control subjects with matching ages and paternal occupations. Four of the social value scales significantly discriminated the delinquent group from the control group (So, Compul, TAPS love, and APD love), identifying delinquents lacking in socialization, compassion, and love. Delinquency is related then to a compulsive orientation. Also, the power-love dimension appears to be an important consideration in the adolescent socialization process. The subsidiary analysis with sex indicates differences which are compatible with scale norms--males are generally lower on So and higher on Mach. Empathy, an important construct in social-moral development did not discriminate delinquents from controls, either alone or in chi-square analysis with So. Taking the other person's perspective (empathy) may be a necessary but not sufficient condition for love. Adolescence is a cognitive developmental period where analytic and roletaking abilities are at a peak, yet these abilities are confounded by a focus on the self that is typical of adolescence. Considering the social cube conceptualization of unsocialized values (high on power, freedom, emotionality), scores for controls are considerably higher than the norms for the scales. Overall, the findings suggest a pattern of values associated with delinquency, a pattern useful for further exploration. Twenty-three references and several tables are provided.