Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Ruth Triplett

Committee Member

James A. Nolan

Committee Member

Garland White

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 B69 2003


Utilizing Cullen's (1994) Social Support Theory and Hunter's (1985) three dimensions of social life, this study is a quantitative, cross-sectional secondary data analysis designed to examine the relationship between institutional social support and rates of juvenile crime for counties and cities in Virginia for the year 2000. Resting on the contention that an inverse, significant relationship exists between measures of institutional support and rates of juvenile property and violent crime, this study examines types of support provided by the institutions of family, school, and the government. These measures of institutional support include 1) familial support: median income, marriage support; 2) school support: free and reduced lunch program, school resource officers; and 3) governmental support: public assistance, unemployment compensation, child and youth service establishments, and DCJS grants. Results indicate that the number of DCJS grants a county or city receives is inversely and significantly related to juvenile violent crime rates. In addition, the county and city number of juveniles residing in married couple families is inversely and significantly related to both juvenile property and violent rates of crime. Of the three types of institutional support examined in this study, support provided by the institution of family is the most important determinant of juvenile crime rates.


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