Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Garland F. White

Committee Member

Mona Danner

Committee Member

Otto C. Sampson

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 A53


The purpose of this study is to investigate which social and economic factors impact juvenile arrest rates and crime rates. In addition this study hopes to lend support to Shaw and McKay's (1942) theory of social disorganization. A large body of research exists on this topic. Scholars have analyzed and debated the validity and strength of the relationship between social disorganization indicators (unemployment, poverty, welfare dependency, single female-headed households, and changes in an areas population size) and increased delinquency and crime. This study will add to existing literature by providing a measure for juvenile crime that focuses on specific offenses. In addition, this study looks at individual effects of social and economic factors, as well as combined effects on specific criminal offenses. The present research utilizes information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report (1990) and the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1990). Multiple regression analyses revealed that the individual effects of social disorganization indicators did not explain much of the variance in juvenile arrest rates and crime rates. However, the combined effects of these factors have statistically significant effects on increases in crime rates.


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