Testing social support theory: A multilevel analysis of recidivism

Erin A. Orrick, John L. Worrall, Robert G. Morris, Alex R. Piquero, William D. Bales, Xia Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Tests of social support theory have relied on aggregate crime rates as the outcome of interest, but such a focus ignores the potentially important macro-level processes and effects on individual-level behavior We thus perform the first multi-level investigation of social support theory. Methods: Multilevel modeling is used to explore whether the two varieties of county-level social support - the presence of charitable organizations and AFDC expenditures - are associated with recidivism in a sample of Florida prison releasees. Results: Results show that while social support explains little variation in individual-level recidivism, a combination of private and public social support may reduce the likelihood of reconviction for drug offenses. Conclusion: Findings provide mixed evidence for the prospect that social support-whether governmental or nongovernmental-is associated with recidivism among recently-released inmates.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)499-508
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Nov 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Applied Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Law


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