Date of Award

12-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Mullins, Christopher

Abstract

This dissertation critically reviews prior labeling theory research concerning juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, and presents a structural equation model utilizing the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The labeling perspective is outlined as it was originally presented, and the theoretical elaborations that have taken place since are highlighted. Distinctions are made between formally applied criminal justice labels and the informal labels that are applied by significant others and parents. An interactionist labeling model that incorporates respondents’ levels of self-control is presented to explain formal labeling, levels of juvenile delinquency, and future criminality among a nationally representative sample of American adolescents: three waves of Add Health. The findings show that formal labeling was the strongest significant predictor of subsequent criminal involvement and that it mediated the effect of prior delinquency on subsequent criminal involvement.

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