Criminological Theories Term Paper

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Criminology Theories and THEIR IMPACT on BEHAVIORS

This paper examines two Criminology theories and holds them against the current social phenomena of adolescent substance abuse. The writer explores the theories and explains how they relate to the theories.

As mankind continues to study the criminal element, it continues to develop theories that can be applied to criminal behavior. Two well-known criminal theories are labeling and social bonding. In each of these theories there are markers to help explain some of the behavior patterns when it comes to adolescents and substance abuse. It is important to understand how these theories contribute to the problem, so that future attempts can be made to proactively prevent substance abuse.

Labeling Theory

There have been several studies on how the labeling theory relates to substance abuse, but before one can understand the connection, it is important that one have an understanding of the theory itself.

Labeling theory variables regarding drug use are related to increases in drug use (Harrison, 1997)."

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According to those theorists who first coined the term labeling theory, it is a process by which individuals begin to view themselves as part of the social process. This process ties one's view of self to the reaction of others in society. Society is familiar with the professional labeling that is done by professionals, including social workers and therapists, however, few people are aware that labeling also occurs outside of the professional arena and is generally metered out by family and friends.

The process by which formal and informal labels are hypothesized to affect behavior over time is via the self-concept or self-label. For example, more deviant formal labels are hypothesized to result in more deviant self-labels and subsequent increases in deviant behavior over time (Harrison, 1997)."

TOPIC: Term Paper on Criminological Theories Assignment

Labeling refers to an interactive process, that occurs over a time period. Experts agree that when a person who has been labeled with negative terms and begins to provide negative behaviors, suddenly begins to be labeled with positive terms, the behavior can also reverse and become productive and positive (Harrison, 1997).

In a recent study regarding the labeling theory, adolescent participants were asked if they had received labels from professionals and asked if their families and friends had labeled them, and if so what the labels were.

The adolescent's encounters with juvenile courts, social workers and substance abuse programs were also recorded to determine if the label theory supported the participants' background and labeling.

The study concluded that being labeled with a negative label, can create negative behaviors in adolescence.

In addition, the participants did record a higher level of drug use if they had received negative labeling from professionals and personal interactions.

Labeling theory was supported in that a more deviant self-label at baseline predicted greater drug use at follow-up, direct support for the labeling concept of secondary deviance. However, the relationship between self-label and drug use was found to be reciprocal, indicating that adolescents also categorize themselves in regard to their drug use after that behavior has occurred (Harrison, 1997)."

Social Bond Theory

The social bond theory theorizes that social bonds, including religious beliefs, family connections and commitments to work and education can all contribute to staying away from deviant behavior including substance abuse (Pawlak, 1993). In addition, the acceptance and beliefs of societal norms has a positive impact on abstinence from social deviance.

Conversely, the theory believes that lacking the above convictions and ties creates a foundation from which social deviance including substance abuse can grow.

Studies that have examined the social bond theory concluded that being involved in socially acceptable activities also helps to dissuade socially deviant behaviors.

It has been hypothesized that numerous forms of deviant behavior originate from traumatic events or conditions during childhood. Researchers have found links… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Criminological Theories" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Criminological Theories.  (2007, February 26).  Retrieved October 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Criminological Theories."  26 February 2007.  Web.  27 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Criminological Theories."  February 26, 2007.  Accessed October 27, 2021.