Faculty Publications

Title

A longitudinal study of the impact of school delinquency on self-worth development among Black American adolescents

Document Type

Article

Keywords

gender, high poverty, longitudinal growth models, placed at-risk populations, placed at-risk students, racial minority adolescents, school delinquency, self-worth

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Community Psychology

Volume

48

Issue

7

First Page

2391

Last Page

2409

Abstract

Previous research found adolescents with low self-worth often utilize delinquency as a method of “self-enhancing” as proposed by Kaplan, which suggests the effects of delinquency can be both enhancing and damaging to adolescents' later reports of self-worth. We tested Kaplan's self-enhancing thesis to determine the extent to which different levels of self-worth in early adolescents foretell long-term levels of self-worth associated with delinquency among adolescents placed at-risk. Data from a sample of 982 primarily Black American (95%) adolescents living in high-poverty neighborhoods were analyzed using global and behavioral self-worth measures collected annually between the ages of 12–17, with school delinquency as the self-enhancing mechanism. Gender (45% female, 55% male) and baseline self-worth measures were included in the model. We found empirical support for the positive effects of school delinquency consistent with self-enhancing theories, although with younger female participants only. Specifically, engaging in delinquent behaviors at age 12 had a positive effect on a females' behavioral self-worth. There were, however, differential effects for males. Although delinquency increased self-worth among females in the short-term, long-term effects were negative, as greater school delinquency resulted in lower self-worth at age 17. Additional gender results and implications for findings are discussed.

Original Publication Date

9-1-2020

DOI of published version

10.1002/jcop.22426

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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