Generational status and offending among a sample of Hispanic adolescents




Lopez, Kristina

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This study examines the relationship between immigration, acculturation, and crime. Research has shown that Hispanics who are more acculturated are more likely to engage in crime (e.g., Morenoff & Astor, 2006), but there is a lack of empirical evidence to explain why this is and little research that has explored Hispanics relative to one another. In an effort to address the shortcomings of previous Hispanic research, this study has two major objectives. First, this study will explore the impact of acculturation, as measured by generational status, on participation in criminal offending among Hispanic adolescents. Second, the study will examine whether ethnicity, net of generational status, predicts criminal offending among Hispanic adolescents. The findings in this study are designed to provide a better understanding of the link between immigration, acculturation, ethnicity, and crime.

This study used longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) to assess the independent effects of ethnicity and generational status, as well as additional criminological variables on adolescent criminal offending. Findings indicated that Puerto Rican ethnicity exerts a significant effect on the likelihood of property offending, such that Puerto Ricans are more likely to property offenses than Mexicans and other Hispanics. Age exerted an inverse significant effect on violent and property offending. Specifically, younger Hispanics reported more involvement in offending than older respondents. Unexpectedly, and inconsistent with the extant literature, generational status was not associated with any offending outcomes. Discussion of the findings and recommendations for future research are included.


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Acculturation, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Hispanic, Offending, Self-Control



Criminal Justice