Immigrant Generations and Delinquency: Assessing the Relative Effects of Family, School, and Delinquent Friends

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18 Scopus citations


Recent research has demonstrated an “immigrant paradox”: a parallel between assimilation and increased engagement in adolescent delinquency. Although evidence has suggested that social control and differential association contribute to the criminological understanding of the immigrant paradox, not many studies have simultaneously incorporated measures of social control and differential association to explore delinquency across immigrant generations. Based on a sample of nationally representative adolescents (N = 13,121) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this study investigates whether and how social control (i.e., family control and school control) and differential association (i.e., delinquent friends association) explain the relationship between immigrant generation and delinquency. Results indicate that delinquent friendships play a more important role and account for much of the difference in delinquency across generations. Moreover, within each generation, delinquent friendships have a more consistent effect on delinquency. However, family control and school control are stronger predictors of delinquency for the third-plus generation than for earlier generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-225
Number of pages27
JournalRace and Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • association with delinquent friends
  • delinquency
  • family
  • immigrant youth
  • school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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