Hello, this is a research methods paper. It requires an analysis of the theories used in the attached research paper and for these theories to be compared to the same theories in another paper of your choosing. The guidelines are in the word document that is also attached. Thank you for your help and I can clarify any questions or misunderstanding that you may have. I do understand what the assignment requires but I am pressed for time so would appreciate the help with the ground work.
Journal of Quantitatiûe Criminology, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2002 ( 2002) Growing Up Poor: Examining the Link between
Persistent Childhood Poverty and Delinquency
G. Roger Jarjoura,1 Ruth A. Triplett,2 and Gregory P. Brinker3 Findings from aggregate-level and ethnographic research suggest that poverty and
delinquency are related. The inability of individual-level quantitative research to
demonstrate consistent evidence of this relationship, however, has been used to call
into question whether poverty is indeed related to an increased propensity for delinquent involvement. This may be due to the difficulty individual-level analyses have
in identifying the group most important in uncovering the relationship of poverty
to delinquency?those individuals that experience persistent childhood poverty.
This paper provides an assessment of the effects of both the level of exposure to
poverty and its timing on delinquent involvement using fourteen years of longitudinal data for a national sample of younger adolescents. Findings indicate that exposure to poverty and the timing of such exposure are indeed related to an increased
likelihood of involvement in delinquency.
KEY WORDS: delinquency; poverty; persistent poor; tobit; longitudinal data. 1. INTRODUCTION
We are currently realizing a deepening of poverty for American children, both in terms of the number of children in poverty and in the intensity
of the poverty they are experiencing. In terms of the numbers of children in
poverty, data shows that nearly 21% of the nation?s children are from families living in poverty?about twice that of most other industrialized countries
(Huston et al., 1994). For 1995, that means that there are approximately
15.3 million U.S. children living in households defined as falling below the
poverty line (Duncan et al., 1998). The percentage of children living in poverty has remained constant during the 1990s, but the number of children
has increased. The increasing depth of poverty for American children is
shown not only in this change but also in dramatic changes in the nature of
1 School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 801 West Michigan Street, Room 4066, Indianapolis, IN 46202?5152.
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529.
Marion County Justice Agency, 200 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
0748-4518?02?0600-0159?0 2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation 160 Jarjoura, Triplett, and Brinker poverty. Children in poverty are increasingly concentrated in impoverished
and underclass neighborhoods (Greenwood, 1995).
Concern about the number of children living in poverty arises from our
knowledge of the problems children face because of poverty. Since the
1960s, developmental research has examined the effects of poverty on IQ,
social adjustment, self-esteem, depression, and other types of maladaptive
behaviors as mediated by such factors as parenting, home environment,
family structure, immediate resources and more recently, school, child care,
and neighborhood (Huston et al., 1994). In each case, poverty has been
shown to have detrimental effects.
Whether we find evidence that poverty is related to delinquency, however, depends on the type of research employed. Ethnographic studies link
poverty to delinquency and crime, along with such factors as persistent
unemployment, marital disruption, female-headed households, and teenage
pregnancy (Anderson, 1993; Hannerz, 1969; Liebow, 1967; Rainwater,
1970; Sullivan, 1993; Suttles, 1968). Ethnographic research tends to focus
on a relatively small group within a relatively limited context, however,
and so is unable to convincingly rule out rival hypotheses for a poverty?
delinquency relationship. Empirical research at the aggregate-level has also
amassed evidence that chronic and persistent poverty leads to crime (Currie,
1985; Hagan and Peterson, 1995; Jencks, 1992; Krivo and Peterson, 1996;
Sampson and Wilson, 1995; Wilson, 1987). The results of aggregate-level
studies, however, are not often taken by many as convincing evidence of a
causal relationship (Jencks, 1992) or as useful in explaining the nature of
the relationship: ??when a relationship is found using aggregated data, the
etiology, characteristics, and behavior associated with that relationship cannot be specifically detailed or easily understood (Sa´ nchez Jankowski,
The most convincing evidence that poverty causes delinquency would,
therefore, necessarily be based on individual-level quantitative analyses.
Yet, such investigations provide the least support for a relationship between
poverty and crime (Sa´ nchez Jankowski, 1995; Tittle and Meier, 1990). In
general, such research efforts have led to the conclusion that poverty
accounts for little of the variation in delinquent involvement. Yet, individuallevel quantitative analyses have been the least effective of these three
approaches at identifying the group which criminological theory suggests is
the most important?individuals who grew up in conditions of persistent
poverty (see Farnworth et al., 1994).
This paper provides an individual-level analysis of the effect of poverty
on delinquent involvement using a national sample of adolescents. The
analysis is specifically designed to go beyond past analyses by identifying
those youths growing up in persistent poverty, indicating the stage of life Growing Up Poor 161 that poverty was experienced, and finally, exploring the factors that mediate
the effect of poverty on delinquent behavior. The paper begins with a review
of prior research on the relationship between poverty and delinquency.
Next, the most recent research on the dynamics of poverty is reviewed. The
results of the analysis are then presented, followed by a discussion of the
findings and conclusions.
2. POVERTY AND DELINQUENCY: THEORETICAL AND
Criminological theories, such as strain (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960;
Cohen 1955; Merton, 1938) and subcultural (Miller, 1958), focused on the
relationship of class to crime, emphasizing crime among the lower class.
Though lower-class status is not necessarily synonymous with poverty, this
literature has been drawn upon to make predictions about the relationship
of poverty to delinquency. Specifically, these theories predict the existence
of a causal relationship, with the effect of poverty mediated by a variety of
factors. For example, strain theorists suggest that the connection between
poverty and delinquency is based in the experiences of lower class boys that
range from lack of preparation for school and the subsequent performance
in school (Cohen, 1955) to differential access to legitimate and illegitimate
opportunities (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960). According to these theories, delinquency results as the boys attempt to adapt to the strain caused by these
lower-class experiences. Miller?s (1958) subcultural theory points to the
structural and cultural differences arising from the isolation of the lower
class to explain delinquent behavior. According to this theory, boys growing
up in female-headed households search for status and belonging among
their peers. Delinquency results among these boys because lower-class
values, or focal concerns, encourage behaviors defined as deviant by middleclass standards. From this argument, we might predict that peer influence,
family structure, and family interaction are important mediating influences
on the relationship between poverty and delinquency.
Beyond recognizing a causal relationship between poverty and delinquency that is mediated by a wide variety of factors, theorists such as Cohen
and Miller recognized that not everyone who can be identified as poor at
one point in time has the same experience of poverty. They recognized this
difference in experience in their focus on two important characteristics of
poverty?its persistence and its timing. The importance of capturing the
persistent poor is emphasized by Farnworth et al. (1994). They argue that
criminological theories focusing on class and crime ??imply that the lifestyle
and life changes associated with the deprivations of persistent poûerty provide motivations for lower-class crime?? (Farnworth et al., 1994; emphasis 162 Jarjoura, Triplett, and Brinker added). Also important in understanding the relationship of poverty to
crime is the timing of poverty, or when during the individual?s life poverty
occurred. Though none of these theorists clearly spell out the importance
of timing, implicit in their work is the idea that most people who become
involved in crime do so early in life. Thus, if poverty is important in explaining criminality it must be experienced while the individual is growing up.
Among the types of research examining the association between poverty and delinquency, ethnographic research provides the most consistent
evidence linking poverty to delinquency (Anderson, 1990; Sa´ nchez Jankowski, 1991; Sullivan, 1989; Williams and Kornblum, 1985). Ethnographies
are also rich sources of information on the processes through which poverty
is associated with delinquency. In particular, they give us another source
for understanding those factors that might well mediate the effect of poverty
on delinquency. Many of the processes support the theoretical positions of
strain and subcultural theories. For example, Sa´ nchez Jankowski (1995) has
described the motives for delinquent involvement of those people living in
poverty. First, for many people living in poverty, crime is seen as the only
opportunity for achieving a higher level of socioeconomic status. Second,
some people living in poverty turn to crime as a means of surviving, and at
a minimum, maintaining their current economic status (see also Wilson,
1987). Third, many people living in poverty, especially adolescents, resort
to delinquency to enhance their financial ability to have fun (see also
Agnew, 1992). Finally, for those living in poverty, respect and honor
become cherished ??possessions?? in the absence of material possessions. As
a result, the individual is often prepared to take whatever means are necessary to protect his or her respect and honor, an argument consistent with
the theoretical discussions of Miller (1958).
More generally, a number of ethnographic studies have contributed to
our understanding of how living in poverty creates persistent problems that
may well mediate the effect of poverty and have been related to delinquent
activity (see Thornberry et al., 1995). For example, a fairly common theme
in these studies is the disruption of the family and the absence of the father
(Anderson, 1993; Hannerz, 1969; Liebow, 1967; Rainwater, 1970; Sullivan,
1993)?factors which are central to Miller?s subcultural theory. Hannerz
(1969) attributes the prevalence of female-headed households to structural
constraints in legitimate opportunities for men and the existence of a
??ghetto-specific?? male role which values such items as sexual exploits,
toughness, ability to command respect and concern for personal appearance. Rainwater (1970) describes the peer support that can encourage the
creation of situations in which the mother is head of the household and the
father is absent. Whether viewed as a separate culture, independent from Growing Up Poor 163 the dominant culture (Miller, 1958), or as an adaptation of dominant culture values and behaviors to structural conditions (Hannerz, 1969; Liebow,
1967; Rainwater, 1970; Suttles, 1968), these studies view the ghetto and the
lower class as distinct from the middle class in ways that contribute to social
problems such as crime and delinquency.
Despite the depth of understanding we get from ethnographic research,
the strongest empirical evidence that poverty is related to crime emerges
from aggregate-level analyses. These analyses, though usually not involving
longitudinal data, are able to distinguish the poorest areas through use of
area-level economic indicators. In her review of this research, FigueiraMcDonough (1992) concludes that ??widespread poverty within a community has been found to be a powerful predictor of delinquency?? (see also
Curry and Spergel, 1988; Shichor et al., 1979; Taylor and Covington, 1988).
Ludwig et al. (1998) found violent delinquency to be more likely in the
poorest communities. They also found that by moving to a more affluent
neighborhood, the probability of engaging in violence declined. Hagan and
Peterson (1995) cite evidence of the link between street crime and concentrated poverty in urban locales from epidemiological studies. Currie (1985)
builds an argument that poverty is a cause of crime by considering evidence
of a link between economic inequality and crime. He examines the differences in crime rates between cities and even countries based on differences
in levels of economic inequality. More recently, Fowles and Merva (1996)
examined data for major metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the period
from 1975 to 1990, and found that the percent of the population living in
poverty was consistently related to crime, regardless of crime type. Krivo
and Peterson (1996) found that in neighborhoods characterized by ??extreme
disadvantage,?? violent crime was particularly more likely to occur.
In trying to uncover the causal mechanisms linking poverty and crime
at an aggregate level, researchers have pointed to unemployment (Land et
al., 1995), family disruption (Sampson, 1987), and informal social control
(Elliott et al., 1996; Sampson, 1997) as likely mediating factors. Other
researchers have pointed to the devastating effects of concentrating minorities and the impoverished in urban communities (Hagan and Peterson,
1995; Sampson and Wilson, 1995; Wilson, 1987). In his historical analysis
of murder rates, Jencks (1992) shows that the most likely cause of increases
in the violent crime rates is the segregation of blacks with regard to occupational and legitimate opportunities. Hagan and Peterson (1995) further
propose that the segregation of racial minorities in sections of concentrated
poverty contributes to inferior educational and employment opportunities,
which, in turn, enhance the likelihood of crime and delinquency. Sampson
and Wilson (1995) theorize that the concentration of poverty, family disruption, and residential instability in black urban communities results in what 164 Jarjoura, Triplett, and Brinker they refer to as ??structural social disorganization?? and ??cultural social isolation,?? both of which contribute to higher levels of crime.
Individual-level analyses of the effect of poverty on delinquency have
provided far less consistent results linking poverty to delinquency than
those uncovered by aggregate-level and ethnographic analyses. Inconsistent
results are evident even when attempts are made to distinguish different
levels of poverty. For example, Johnson (1980) conducted an explicit test of
the idea that underclass measures are more likely to be related to delinquency than traditional measures of social class. His measure of underclass
was a composite of information on total family income, receipt of welfare
or unemployment compensation, whether the parents had graduated from
college, and whether the parents held white-collar jobs. Johnson found no
evidence of a class?delinquency relationship, regardless of the way in which
class was operationalized. In contrast, Brown (1984) considered three different measures of social class and found that receipt of welfare was most
strongly and consistently related to criminal involvement. Similarly, Ouston
(1984) operationalized poverty as the receipt of free school meals and found
that poverty was significantly related to delinquency. Brownfield (1986)
found that poverty, as measured by combining information on receipt of
welfare and unemployment of the father, was related to violent crime in one
data set, but he was unable to replicate this result in another data set. In a
review of these studies, Tittle and Meier concluded that the findings, as a
whole, were ??problematic?? and did not ??unambiguously specify an SES?
delinquency relationship?? (1990: 274?275).
More recently, however, Farnworth et al. (1994) made a substantial
contribution to the literature in their test of the idea that the relationship
between delinquency and class is strongest when class is measured in such
a way that it captures a persistent experience of poverty. Their measure of
persistent poverty incorporates information from over a two-year period on
whether the household qualified as being below the poverty level, whether
the principal wage earner was unemployed, and whether the family received
welfare benefits. Results of their analysis indicated that persistent poverty
had a strong and consistent impact on more serious forms of delinquency
(Farnworth et al., 1994).
There are many reasons why ethnographic and aggregate-level research
would find more consistent evidence of a relationship between poverty and
delinquency than empirical analyses at the individual level. One reason, in
particular, structures the examination in this paper. Ethnographies and
aggregate-level analyses have been better in the past at capturing the persistent poor and individuals that experienced poverty during childhood. Ethnographies examining poverty and crime are better at capturing long-term
poor because the researchers can choose as their subjects neighborhoods Growing Up Poor 165 and individuals that are persistently poor. With aggregate-level analyses,
researchers can focus on areas characterized by poverty.
Individual-level analyses have not in the past captured the persistent
poor very well. This is due primarily to the fact that poverty or class tends
to be measured at only one point in time. Without longitudinal data, it is
difficult to identify the persistent poor. In addition, samples are typically
random samples of some general population. Estimates from research on
poverty point to only between 2?5% of the population as being persistently
poor (Duncan, 1984; Wilson, 1987). Thus, we would only expect very small
numbers in the average criminological sample to fit the description of persistent poor. For instance, Brown (1984) would have fewer than 5 out of
110 subjects in this category. Similarly, fewer than 35 from a sample of 734
in Johnson?s (1980) study would actually be persistent poor, as would fewer
than 115 from the 2300C subjects in the study by Ouston (1984). The lack
of adequate representation of the persistent poor in criminological research
is important in that it is this group that, at least implicitly, criminological
theories are referring to when they discuss the effect of poverty on
This reading of the criminological literature raises three interesting
questions that the literature on the nature of poverty might well shed light
on. First, just how distinct a group of poor are the persistent poor? If criminological theory is right then the persistent poor should be distinct in a
variety of ways from the short-term poor. Second, the follow-up question
is how important is it to have longitudinal data to identify them? Finally,
is there reason to believe that the timing of poverty is important in understanding the relationship of poverty to delinquency? In the next section of
the paper we examine the literature on the nature of poverty for guidance
in our examination of these issues.
3. THE PERSISTENT POOR AND THE TIMING OF POVERTY
Criminological investigations into the relationship between poverty and
delinquency have rarely considered the dynamics of poverty. Nor do most
criminological researchers draw upon the vast literature that now exists on
poverty in America to inform their analyses of delinquency. Yet, even a
cursory reading of the poverty literature shows quite clearly what strain and
subcultural theories suggest: that there are considerable differences among
the poor by level of exposure.
Understanding the importance of distinguishing the poor by level of
exposure begins with the recognition that there is a dual nature to poverty
in America (Bane and Ellwood, 1986). The concept of a ??dual nature to
poverty?? refers to the fact that while there are a substantial number of 166 Jarjoura, Triplett, and Brinker people living in persistent, long-term poverty, many people, including children, experience only short-term poverty. For example, Duncan and Rodgers (1988) found that one-third of all children experience poverty in at least
one year of their life, while only 1 in 20 experience ten or more years. In
fact, most spells of poverty are quite short?nearly 45% ending within one
year, 70% end within three years and only 12% last ten or more years (Bane
and Ellwood, 1989). Further, research shows that those who can be categorized as the short-term poor are not very different in their characteristics
from the general population. Research does find, however, that the longerterm poor are more likely to come from African-American and femaleheaded households, and that poverty is more persistent in the South and in
rural areas (Duncan, 1984). Those in poverty at any particular moment,
then, are not a homogeneous group. They consist of the ??long and short
term poor, less and more serious conditions and of families of quite different
characteristics?? (Bane and Ellwood, 1989).
The literature on the nature of poverty also points to other differences
important in understanding the causes of persistent vs. short-term poverty.
These differences can be found, for example, in the conceptualization and
analysis of spells of poverty. Bane and Ellwood (1986, 1989) conceptualize
a spell of poverty as beginning in the first year that income is below the
poverty line after having been above it, and ending when income is above
the poverty line after having been below it. They report that the duration
of a poverty spell is related to the cause of the spell. The shortest spells are
those that begin when children move out of their parents? house and set up
their own household. Changes in income levels of the head of household
and other family members contribute to relatively short spells of poverty.
The longest spells are found in households headed by females.
More recent analyses of exits from poverty confirm exit rates are higher
for households headed by white males and much lower for those headed by
black females (Stevens, 1994). Stevens also reports that from 1970?1987,
mobility into and out of poverty decreased, with the declines being concentrated among female-headed households. Stevens found that these same
households are more likely to experience repeated spells of poverty.
Recognition of the dual nature of poverty?with many experiencing
only short spells of poverty?leads to the hypothesis that the effects of poverty vary by the duration of poverty. Research in this area has provided
evidence that the effects of poverty increase as the duration in poverty
increases (see, for example, Corcoran et al., 1992; Duncan et al., 1994; Garrett et al., 1994; Haveman et al., 1991). A study that illustrates well the
findings in this area is that carried out by Duncan and his colleagues (1994).
They examined the impact of persistent poverty on a sample of children at
age five, and found empirical support for their hypothesis that length of Growing Up Poor 167 time in poverty mattered even among children as young as five. They found
that even though occasional poverty was significantly related to all of their
outcome measures?cognitive functioning (as measured by IQ), behavioral
functioning (as measured by the revised Child Behavior Profile) and health
status???the estimated effect of transitory poverty is not as large as the
estimated effect of persistent poverty?? (Duncan et al., 1994; 307).
The timing of poverty has also been shown to be important. BrooksGunn et al. (1997) argue that the effect of poverty is likely to vary (in degree
and in mechanism) by stage of childhood in which it is experienced. They
propose four distinct periods to differentiate between based on the transitions and role changes which occur at each stage: the prenatal?infancy
period, early childhood (ages 2?5), middle childhood (ages 6?10), and late
childhood?adolescence (over 10 years). The effect of poverty at different
stages in a child?s life has only recently been the subject of scholarly
In a 1998 review of this literature, Duncan et al. draw three important
conclusions. Firstly, they conclude the timing of poverty does matter. Secondly, they find that poverty in early childhood is most important. ??Family
economic conditions in early and middle childhood appeared to be far more
important for shaping ability and achievement than were economic conditions during adolescence?? (Duncan et al., 1998: 408). Finally, the literature thus far indicates that poverty has less of a relationship to behavioral
outcomes than to achievement and abi...
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