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Deviant identity, negative self-feelings, and decreases in deviant behavior: The moderating influence of conventional social bonding

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Informed by Kaplan's general theory of deviant behavior it was hypothesized that adolescents characterized by deviant identities who developed negative self-feelings would decrease deviant behavior over time if the youths were bonded to the conventional social order but not if the youths were not bonded to the conventional social order. For adolescents not characterized by deviant identities, the development of negative self-feelings would increase deviant behavior over time regardless of the level of conventional social bonding. The hypotheses were explored using data from youth ( n =1019) tested during early adolescence and re-tested 3 years later. Ordinary least square regression models estimated the effects of negative self-feelings on later deviant behaviors controlling for earlier deviant behavior, gender, race/ethnicity, and father's education. The model was estimated separately for each of four subgroups: deviant identity/high social bonding; deviant identity/low social bonding; non-deviant identity/high social bonding; and non-deviant identity/low social bonding. As hypothesized, negative self-feelings anticipated significant decreases in deviant behavior for the deviant identity/high social bonding group, but were unrelated to deviant behavior in the deviant identity/low social bonding group; and negative self-feelings anticipated increased deviant behavior in the two non-deviant identity groups regardless of the level of social bonding.

Keywords: Negative self-feelings; deviant identity; social bonding

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Studies of Social Deviance, Department of Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843-4351, USA 2: Department of Psychology and Sociology, Texas A&M Kingsville, 700 University Boulevard Kingsville, TX, 78363, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2005


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