The article “The social context of delinquent conduct” by Nicholas Elmer, Stephen Reicher, and Andrew Ross was published in 1987 in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. This paper presents the authors’ research on the antisocial behavior of individuals and the effects of their social surroundings on its occurrence. The authors attempt to identify whether misbehavior occurred more frequently when an adolescent was alone, in a group, and what size of a group is more often involved in delinquency (Emler et al., 1987). The authors have collected two sets of data in the form of a self-report from 189 boys and 141 girls to determine their involvement in delinquent activities and the context of these incidents (Emler et al., 1987). This summary provides a short description of the authors’ research method and its results.
The results of the study reveal several key facts about delinquent conduct in adolescents. The authors have discovered that these incidents almost always occur in a group, whilst loners are less prone to offending and admitting to their misdeeds (Emler et al., 1987). The survey also revealed that juvenile crime has a predominantly social character, and misbehavior occurs more frequently in a group of 10 or more (Emler et al., 1987).
Surprisingly, in a majority of surveyed classes, girls were more prone to misbehavior when in a group (Emler et al., 1987). It appears that a single person may incline an entire group to delinquency if they have a close bond. Judging from the research, it seems that less socialized groups promote conformity, while adolescents may be inclined to misbehave in a group of familiar peers (Emler et al., 1987). I believe that this study, in particular, reveals a potential issue with the spread of misbehavior among adolescents, as their peers influence them sometimes even more than parents.
Emler, N., Reicher, S., & Ross, A. (1987). The social context of delinquent conduct. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28(1), 99-109. Web.