Child Delinquency Is An Umbrella Term, By Edwin Sutherland 's Differential Association Theory

1499 Words Dec 9th, 2015 6 Pages
Juvenile delinquency is an umbrella term that characterizes a variety of illegal behaviors committed by minors. The majority of these illegal behaviors are referred to as status offenses, or offenses that are only considered illegal because the perpetrator is underage. One pattern of deviant behavior that is very prominent among juveniles is partaking in risky sexual behaviors, particularly when alcohol or illicit drugs are involved. These risky behaviors most often include having sex with multiple partners, engaging in anal sex, engaging in sexual activity without the use of contraception, and not having themselves or their partners tested for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). While it is not illegal for a teenager to have sex under most circumstances, the use of alcohol and other illicit substances is, and teenagers are significantly more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors that present various health risks when they are under the influence. This pattern of deviance may be best explained by Edwin Sutherland’s differential association theory, which contends that deviance is learned through interaction with others, and that learning takes place within intimate primary social groups. A longitudinal study by Guo et al. (2002) examined the “relationship between substance use and risky sexual behavior” in young adults. 808 male and female adolescents in Seattle, Washington participated in the study. Each participant was surveyed twice, first at age 10 and again at…

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