Title

Do “bad boys” really get the girls? Delinquency as a cause and consequence of dating behavior among adolescents

Abstract

Drawing on Zahavi's (1975) handicap principle, we suggest that delinquency and other risk-taking behavior might be seen as evidence of positive, adaptive qualities such as nerve and bravery. Drawing on Akers' (1998) social learning theory, we also suggest that potential romantic partners might be attracted to such traits and that this romantic attention might reinforce delinquency and other risk-taking behavior. Using data from the first and third waves of the National Youth Survey, we test these assertions with a series of longitudinal OLS and contemporaneous-effects covariance structure models. Results suggest that delinquency serves to increase romantic involvement and that romantic involvement may provide vicarious, but not necessarily direct, reinforcement for delinquency among both male and female adolescents.

Publication Date

2004

Journal Title

Justice Quarterly

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1080/07418820400095841

Document Type

Article

Rights

© 2004 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

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