Teens, drugs, and delinquency: a partial test of American institutional explanations of crime
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This study tests two macro-sociological theories of crime, which focus on the effects of perceptions of American social institutions. Both institutional legitimacy theory and institutional anomie theory contend that American social institutions are uniquely organized to affect American crime rates. Previous tests of these theories have focused on adult, serious offenses using aggregate units of analysis. The current tests focus on juveniles and low seriousness offenses. Using data from the Monitoring the Future Survey, the findings show that delinquency is associated with juveniles’ perceptions of three key American social institutions: the political system, the economic system, and the family. Although the results show mixed support, there is stronger evidence for institutional legitimacy theory than institutional anomie theory. The future directions of this research are discussed.