Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Allison Chappell

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 C66 2006


With one out of every two marriages statistically doomed to fail, we must ask ourselves: how does this affect children? This thesis examines the relationship between divorce rates in the 135 cities and counties in Virginia and rates of juvenile violent crime and drug abuse. Social disorganization, used as a main source of reference in this study, is helpful in understanding how divorce affects juveniles at the community level. Family disruption, due to parental divorce, supports the notion that there is less juvenile supervision in the home and in effect the community, which leads to juvenile delinquency.

The three different datasets were used to analyze statistics on rates of juvenile violent crime, drug abuse, and divorce are the Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics, Social Indicators Project (Governor's Office for Substance Abuse Prevention 2005), and the 2000 Census. Regression models indicated that divorce was positively and significantly related to rates of juvenile violent crime and drug abuse at the bivariate level. Early detection of risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency could help initiate prevention programs. Recreational and after-school programs could provide juveniles with supervised activities and role models that inhibit the introduction of delinquent behaviors.


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