Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Heather Dillaway

Second Advisor

Poco Kernsmith



Delinquency and Self-Control Outcomes for Youth in Middle Childhood: Variations by Neighborhood Context, Race and Gender



August 2016

Advisor: Dr. Heather Dillaway

Major: Sociology

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between neighborhood context factors and youth outcomes for youth in middle childhood in southeast Michigan, specifically in 6th grade. This study focused in on the notion that youth with high perceived neighborhood disorganization and feelings of threats to personal safety are more likely to have low self-control and exhibit delinquent activity. In addition, this study explored the extent to which community involvement, race, and gender moderate this relationship. This study utilizes secondary data from a larger Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded study on intimate partner violence, the SHARE study (“Strengthening Supports for Healthy Relationships: A Gender-Sensitive, Mixed Methods Analysis of Protective Factors for Intimate Partner Violence”). Findings indicate that there is an association between perceived neighborhood disorganization and perceived threats to personal safety and low self-control and delinquent activity. In addition, while community involvement and gender do not appear to have a moderating role in this relationship, race does, specifically for White youth.

Neighborhood context is not the only predictor of youth outcomes. However, as this research indicates, it is important to know that delinquency and low self-control may be affected by neighborhood context factors that youth are exposed to during middle childhood. The period of middle childhood is where youth begin to make moral judgments and justifications for their behavior (whether negative or positive). It is also within this time period where prevention and intervention strategies may be most effective and should be focused. Additionally, findings suggest that developing healthy neighborhoods and reducing perceived neighborhood disorganization and threats to personal safety is a worthwhile goal.