We will write a custom Article on Self-Concept, Parental Labeling, and Delinquency specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The studies of delinquent behavior are believed to determine relationships of delinquency with self-concepts and parental socialization. Still, these studies proved that self-concepts seem to have little effect on delinquent behavior. The article by Matsueda suggests an alternate concept based on the theory of symbolic interactionism.
Main Purpose and Key Question of the Article
The main purpose of the article is to “conceptualize the self as being rooted in social interaction, comprising multiple dimensions, and providing a crucial link between self-control and social control” (Matsueda, 1992, p. 1578). The key objective is to point out broader determinants to specify the self and argue the dependence of appraisal from the standpoint of other people on delinquency. It is mentioned that the attempts to study deviant behavior using the interactionist perspective were first made by arguing that children labeled as bad by teachers are more likely to obtain poor self-concepts.
Data and Methods Used in the Article
The researcher is trying to develop a distinct theory of dependence between the self and delinquency using an empirical test. Matsueda (1992) states that “the perspective of symbolic interactionism presupposes that social order is the product of an ongoing process of social interaction and communication” (p. 1580). The social structure and interaction are linked by role-taking. It helps individuals influence each other by appraising the situation from the standpoint of another person and figuring out possible actions. Therefore, delinquent behavior might be a result of fitting to the behavior of other individuals as a response to their actions. It means that criminal behavior of one teenager might cause a negative response from the other one to solve a problem.
The researcher needs specific data to examine the hypothesis of labeling and relationship between parental appraisal and delinquency, as well as the effects that delinquency has on a reflective and parental appraisal. Such data were provided by the National Youth Survey that studied delinquency and drug use. The measurement model of the process of reflected appraisal was specified to analyze the data. This model was incorporated into a structural model describing the consequences of reflected appraisals.
The study proved that the youth tend to praise themselves from the standpoint of other people. It is pointed out that parental labeling of youth as future criminals is more frequent among nonwhites. Usually, reflected appraisals made by the youth of themselves were influenced by the opinion of their parents. Still, previous violation of social rules has an impact on a reflected appraisal of self and has a huge effect on delinquent behavior. Moreover, the place of living, age, sex, and race have a significant influence on delinquency as well. Some researchers also state that “when official rates of crime are plotted against age, the rates for both prevalence and incidence of offending appear highest during adolescence” (Moffitt, 2017, p. 675). Thus, it can be stated that interactionist conception provides crucial causes of criminal behavior.
Main Conclusions and Limitations
Nevertheless, it is noted that “theoretical model of reflected appraisals and behavior is overly restrictive” (Matsueda, 1992. p. 1603). Previous delinquent behavior is proved to influence reflected appraisals more than parental ones. It also might be argued that the presented model does not include all appraisals possible. Still, the results of the study prove that role-taking is crucial for delinquency.
The study of Matsueda examined specific meanings of the self that were used to violate rules. It was found that reflected appraisal as a potential criminal strongly influences delinquency. The interactionist theory also suggests that other specific implications of the self might influence delinquent behavior as well.
Matsueda, R. L. (1992). Reflected appraisals, parental labeling, and delinquency: Specifying a symbolic interactionist theory. American Journal of Sociology, 97(6), 1577-1611.
Moffitt, T. E. (2017). A developmental taxonomy. In Stephen Farrall (Ed.), The Termination of Criminal Careers (pp. 674-701). New-York, NY: Routledge.