Correlational analysis of variables associated with delinquency in a homogeneous group of juvenile delinquents



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The purpose of the present study was to describe and analyze a homogeneous group of delinquents using criterion variables of legal status, sex and ethnicity. Educational, demographic and psychological test data was gathered on 57 juvenile delinquents. The group of delinquents was highly homogeneous, from the same socioeconomic background and living in a small inner city area of a large Southern city. Variables correlating with legal status, sex and ethnicity were examined using a stepwise multiple regression equation and discriminant function analysis. The results of the present study may be summarized as follows: a) 33 variables correlated with a child’s legal status; and two variables, number of convictions and number of VRT errors, discriminated between children who had been adjudicated in court and those whose cases had been closed at Intake, b) 27 variables significantly correlated with sex and five variables; number of brothers, legal status, number of misdemeanor arrests, birth order and whether the child was working at the time of arrest discriminated between the sexes, and c) 21 variables correlated with ethnicity and two variables, number of sisters and number of VRT errors discriminated between Whites, Blacks and Mexican Americans. In general, results indicated poor school achievement, the possibility of visual-motor difficulties and a lack of severe emotional disturbance in this group of delinquents. Implications for the worker in the field of delinquency include cooperation with existing remedial school programs and/or location of vocational training and job placement for their probationers. Further research is warranted to determine the generalizability of these findings to other socioeconomic groups.