Involvement in Sports and Engagement in Delinquency: An Examination of Hirschi's Social Bond Theory.

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Hass, Randy
Sporting Programs; Delinquency; Travis Hirschi; Social Control Theory; Sports; Social Bond Theory; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Legal Studies; Social and Behavioral Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Sports have been proposed as a means of reducing participation in delinquency. One criminological theory that would support this hypothesis is Travis Hirschi's social bond theory. The involvement element of that theory proposes that engaging juveniles in non-delinquent activities reduces engagement in delinquency. However, the relationship between sports and delinquency has not been adequately tested. Data from the first wave of the National Youth Survey were examined by ordinary least squares regression to determine if there was evidence supporting school sponsored sports programs as a means of reducing delinquency. No evidence was found to support the research hypothesis. Involvement in sports actually was associated with an increase in some types of delinquency, though the slope of the regression line was very slight. This study was a piece of evidence bringing into question the legitimacy of the involvement element in social bond theory.