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Title: Illuminating Individual-Level Sources of Crime for African Americans and Whites: An Examination of Four Theories
Authors: Latimore, Traronda
Advisors: William R. Smith, Committee Member
Ronald Czaja, Committee Member
Charles R. Tittle, Committee Chair
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Committee Member
Catherine Zimmer, Committee Member
Melvin Thomas, Committee Member
Keywords: crime
Issue Date: 17-Nov-2006
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Sociology
Abstract: This research addresses two important theoretical questions in the sociological study of race and crime: (1) If racial differences exist between African Americans and Whites, can self-control, general strain, social bonding, and social learning theories account for the differences? (i.e., the "racial gap" issue) and (2) Are the processes specified by these theories the same for African Americans and Whites? (i.e., the "racial generality" issue). Using data from randomly selected African American and White adults who live in Wake County, North Carolina, several answers to these questions are suggested. Concerning the "racial gap" issue, this study finds no significant differences in offending between African Americans and Whites. Concerning the "racial generality" issue, the results offer considerable insight into the individual-level sources of crime for both groups. Collectively, the findings offer limited support for social bonding theory and mixed support for self-control, general strain, and social learning theories. The implications of these results, particularly as they pertain to criminological theory and social policy, are also discussed.
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