Risk and resilience factors associated with delinquent behavior among African -American adolescent males

Lynette Atteloney, Florida International University


Juvenile crime is a social problem of increasing concern to many citizens in the United States. In 2000, there were an estimated 2.4 million juvenile arrests for a variety of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to violent felony offenses. African American males are disproportionately represented among juvenile offenders in the United States. In 2000, black youth were approximately 16% of the U.S. population between the ages of 10–17; however, they accounted for 42% of juvenile arrests for violent crime. This study explored putative factors associated with juvenile offending among a sample of African American adolescent males. The independent variables in this study were academic achievement, religiosity, parenting styles and discrimination. The dependent variables were delinquent behavior and arrest. The data used in this study were from a larger NIDA funded longitudinal study that included approximately 425 African American youths. The data collection method involved structured interviews and questionnaires. The participants for the original study were selected via random sampling from all students attending middle school in Miami-Dade County. The study examined the hypotheses that African American males retrospectively reporting (a) high academic achievement, (b) high religiosity, (c) authoritarian parenting and (d) low perceptions of discrimination are less likely to be involved in delinquent behavior and are also less likely to be arrested. Results indicated that among African American adolescent males, delinquent behavior had a significant relationship (p < .05) with academic achievement, perceived discrimination and the interaction between perceived discrimination and experienced discrimination. Arrest was significantly related to academic achievement (p < .001), religious perception (p < .05), and church attendance (p < 05). Neither dependent variable was significantly related to parenting styles. The findings indicated that experimental studies are needed to clarify cause and effect relationship among the variables associated with juvenile offending among African American males, which may differ from those associated with juvenile offending among other groups.

Subject Area

Social work|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|African Americans

Recommended Citation

Atteloney, Lynette, "Risk and resilience factors associated with delinquent behavior among African -American adolescent males" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3130311.