Criminology Theories and Their Impact Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

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One study examined 595 participants, who filled out questionnaires for the research and concluded that social bonding issues play a part in social deviance including the use of drugs and alcohol (Pawlak, 1993).

Relating Theory to Social Issue

Relating the two criminology theories to the current social issue of adolescent substance abuse, is relatively easy to do. In each of the theories, studies have been conducted to ascertain the amount, if any, of substance abuse that the theories support. Both of the theories have relatively clear markers for how they impact the possibility of adolescent substance abuse.

The research into the labeling theory, clearly indicates that adolescents often develop their self-image by the reaction of society to their existence. If a teenager believes he is labeled as a problem, or a throw-away child, he will most likely develop poor self-esteem, and one of the consequences of that low self-esteem, may turn out to be problems with substance abuse.

If the teen believes that society favors him and labels him as a productive member of society, he is less inclined to become involved in substance abuse.

When it comes to the social bonding theory, a similar correlation can be found between the theory itself and the current social issue of adolescent substance abuse.

When an adolescent is found to have strong ties to family, religion, work and education that adolescent is statistically less inclined to become involved with substance abuse according to the studies conducted on the subject.

Conversely if an adolescent does not have a strong social bond with the above listed elements of life, that adolescent is statistically at a higher risk for developing substance abuse issues.

Influence

Each of the two theories has an influential role on societal behavior as they provide the foundation for self-image, and reaction to that self-image.

An example of how the labeling theory impacts behavior can be seen using a Boy Scout and a failing student.

If a Boy Scout is caught with a small amount of marijuana or alcohol, the reaction by most will be that it was an unexpected event and one that would not be repeated once the scout realized the error of his ways.

If a failing high school student is caught with the same amount of marijuana or alcohol, society's reaction will be stronger because that adolescent is labeled as a problem.

Adolescents experience these different treatments often and those help to guide their self-image and consequently their behaviors.

Criminology theories have a significant influence on preventing crime and reducing criminal behavior because they provide society with the knowledge of what causes a criminal element to develop. The understanding of criminal theories can help to develop future programs that will assist individuals from not engaging in criminal behaviors.

With the issue of adolescent drug abuse, the knowledge of criminology theories can provide a foundation for substance abuse prevention programs to include self-esteem building activities and family sessions to help reverse the negative labeling and promote positive labeling of the teen.

References

Harrison, Larry R (1997) Control theory, labeling theory, and the delivery of services for drug abuse to adolescents. Adolescence Marcos, a.C., & Johnson, R.E. (1988). Cultural patterns and causal processes in adolescent drug use: The case of Greeks vs. Americans. The International Journal of the Addictions, 23, 545-572.

Ray, M.C., & Downs, W.R. (1986). An empirical test of labeling theory using longitudinal data. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 23, 169-194.

Pawlak, Rebecca (1993) Effects of social bonds and childhood experiences…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Harrison, Larry R (1997) Control theory, labeling theory, and the delivery of services for drug abuse to adolescents. Adolescence Marcos, a.C., & Johnson, R.E. (1988). Cultural patterns and causal processes in adolescent drug use: The case of Greeks vs. Americans. The International Journal of the Addictions, 23, 545-572.

Ray, M.C., & Downs, W.R. (1986). An empirical test of labeling theory using longitudinal data. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 23, 169-194.

Pawlak, Rebecca (1993) Effects of social bonds and childhood experiences on alcohol abuse and smoking. The Journal of Social Psychology

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