Master of Arts (M.A.)
Degree Granting Department
John Cochran, Ph.D.
Dawn K. Cecil, Ph.D.
Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D.
drug crime, juvenile crime, super-predator, violent crime
The myth of the “super-predator” offender was adopted by newspaper media in the mid-1990s characterizing “violent”, urban, and minority juvenile offenders. The phrase originated from newspaper headlines of the 1980s and 1990s, but limited research has identified whether this con-struct predated DiIulio and Fox’s crime surge prediction. This study sampled juvenile crime news items from The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times (N=2,008) 1985-1995 with defined search criteria of juvenile actors, “violent” juvenile crime, and/or juvenile drug crime. A descriptive analysis of the data determined reporting trends sought for a “period effect” caused by the publicity of the prediction and searched for the pre-existence of “super-predator” construct. Finally, a series χ2 test determined the statistical independence of “super-predator” offender, the victim, and crime characteristics, from variables of news article prominence. This study found support for identifiable trends in juvenile crime reporting, no identifiable “period effect” and mixed, but ultimately null findings, in pre-establishing the super-predator media construct. The χ2 test determined the statistical independence of “super-predator” offender, the victim, and crime characteristics, found some characteristics were statically independent of variables of article prominence, but that these relationships are weak.
Scholar Commons Citation
Jackson-Cruz, Elizabeth R., "Social Constructionism and Cultivation Theory in Development of the Juvenile “Super-Predator”" (2019). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.