A Closer Look at the Age, Peers and Delinquency Relationship Daniel P. Mears and Samuel H. Field Western Criminology Review 4 (1), 20-29 (2002) Introduction: Research Summary: Two suppositions were explored. First, a communal association between delinquent peer-groups and the significance of age as it is influencedamong older youth. The second (keeping in the direction of the theoretical focus), epitomized that substance-abuse-related offenses would have a greater correlation in the relationship between delinquent peers and age.
For each violation dependent variables were used, with each offender asked the specific amount of times the offense was committed in the past year. "The mean values for the offenses, range from a low of . 05 for burglary to a high of 24. 00 for the use of marijuana. " (Mears & H. Field,2002). The analysis with regard to the deviant self-reported acts uncovers the fact that there is a significant age/peer interaction for each violation, omitting hitting someone.
The principal finding to note is,"that the expected pattern of age/peer interactions is most evident for using marijuana; getting drunk; and, to a lesser extent, selling illegal drugs, using prescription drugs, burglary, and the offense index. The steady progression in the increasing effect of peers for these offenses can be seen by noting the size and direction of the increase in the interaction coefficients from one age to the next”(Mears & H. Field,2002). For the crimes of: cheating, damaging property, stealing items less than $5, and more than $50, and hitting someone, the nature and tenacity appear to be less apparent.
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With regard to these offenses, the effects of the “influence-of-peers-relationship,” seem to lessen. The researchers gave additional analysis to examine the effects of the linkage between heightened delinquency that may be reinforced by increased influence of peers and reducedtime spent with the family model. When included, the variables of peer influence and family time left no discernible significance on the interaction of the age/peer association. Personal Opinion regarding Research: The authors did look at relevant and pertinent data.
Samplings from the study were taken from households across United States, as evidenced by the NYS Wave 3 data, and adolescents were selected from the ages of 13-19. The NYS data was used, "because of its considerable methodological attention given to the NYS and because of the general agreement as to their reliability and validity" (Mears & H. Field, 2002). Mandatory steps were taken to ensure the offenses were of high variances, by creating the index and standardizing individual offense counts. Standardizing the individual offense was necessary to ensure that offenses with high variances (e. g. , using marijuana) did not overly influence the resulting index" (Mears & H. Field, 2002). I found the article to be informative as well as interesting. Mears and fields, speculative evidence suggesting that increased exposure to delinquent peers exerts a unique impact on the inclination of older youth to engage in drug offending (using marijuana, getting drunk, selling illegal drugs, and using prescription drugs), was very compelling to me.
There are many studies and much evidence to suggest that substance abuse is embedded within peer interactions. Adolescents are expected to participate in drug-related deviant acts, with marijuana and drunkenness at the forefront. It was equally interesting to see how the aging peer influence played into this study. Conclusion: While there does seem to be an interactive relationship existing between age and delinquent peer associations (for some offenses).
The research was directed more to the drug-related offenses and the relationship between age and delinquent peer associations. The researchers pointed out that with thisinteractive age/peer relationship, delinquency increases with peer influence among older youth. The data from the NYS was pertinent, relevant, and convincing. The findings open other areas for further investigation, such as “age/peer interactions using longitudinal data. " (Mears & H. Field,2002).
Although, I found the data to be factual and valid, I did take note that the data from wave one was collected in 1976, and the data collected from the third wave (present study), was collected in 1978. The only recommendation I would have is to perform similar analysis on current data to add a stronger foundation to Mears and fields, 2002 findings. (Mears & H. Field, 2002) Mears, D. P. , & H. Field, S. (2002). A Closer Look at the Age, Peers, and Delinquency Relationship. Retrieved from Excelsior College Virtual Library Web site: http://Retrieved from http://wcr. sonoma. edu/v4n1/mears. html
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