Street Youth, Social Schemas, and Crime

Street Youth, Social Schemas, and Crime

Utilizing 400 youths living on the street, the article examines the social schematic theory of crime developed by Simons and Burt. It explores the role homelessness, physical abuse, emotional neglect, violent victimization, and peers play in the development of criminogenic knowledge structures (CKSs). It then examines the associations between adverse experiences, the CKS, and crime. Results show that deviant peers mediate the relationships between physical abuse, homelessness, violent victimization, and the CKS, while emotional neglect is directly associated with the CKS. The CKS in turn is directly linked to crime along with peers, homelessness, and violent victimization. The CKS also mediates the relationships between deviant peers and offending, and emotional neglect and offending. The relationships between physical abuse, homelessness, violent victimization, and crime are mediated by deviant peers. Furthermore, these relationships are also serially mediated through deviant peers and the CKS. Avenues for future research and policy implications are discussed.

JOURNAL: SAGE Criminal Justice and Behavior
VOLUME: 44
ISSUE: 12
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017