Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wilson Palacios, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tom Mieczkowski, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sondra Fogel, Ph.D.


delinquency tolerance, pharmaco-social friction, juvenile, adolescence


The study was designed to examine the attitudes of adolescents towards the tolerance of delinquent behavior. It was postulated that there would be a differential in the tolerance of delinquent behavior by juveniles from different age, gender, and racial groups. It was hypothesized that different groups would score higher or lower on select measures or dimensions (definition, reporting, controlling, preventing, correcting) of delinquency tolerance, and that their level of tolerance of delinquency might prove useful in explaining participation in delinquency.

The focus of the study was on identification of differential attitudes of various subgroups towards the violations of norms relating to acceptable behavior by adolescents. Definition and reporting dimensions are crucial index of tolerance attitudes towards delinquency.

The study design employed an in-school opinion survey. The total survey sample was 562 county school students from elementary, middle and high schools. Participation was voluntary. Parents had to provide consent slips in order for their children to participate. Teachers were given the option of having their class participate. As a result of these survey techniques, the sample was non-random. The characteristics of the sample population and county population for these age groups, however, were similar.

The major hypothesis of the study was that there is differential tolerance of delinquency amongst juveniles of different race and gender groups. This hypothesis was confirmed. Important significant difference for gender (males were more tolerant of delinquency than females) and ethnicity (Asian were less tolerant of delinquency than blacks, whites or Hispanics) and Blacks were more tolerant of delinquency than are Whites.

The significance of this research is its potential impact on theoretical explanations of delinquency. The implications of these results for revising existing theories of delinquency are discussed in the concluding chapter.