Influence of Generational Status on Developmental Trajectories of Delinquency for Asian, African American, Hispanic, and White Youth

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Using two nationally representative datasets, the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97), this study examined the developmental trajectories of delinquency for Asian, African American, Hispanic, and White race/ethnicity, and explored whether generation status and gender influenced these trajectories differently for Asian versus the other groups. Analyses included multigroup modeling using Mplus 5.21 statistical software. In the Add Health dataset, first-generation Asians had lower rates of delinquency than second-generation Asians; this was true for Hispanic race/ethnicity across both datasets. In addition, females started out lower than males in early adolescence across all races. However, all groups, regardless of initial delinquency rates in early adolescence at age 13, eventually converged to low values in young adulthood, at age 25. This convergence was also true when covariates were incorporated in the models. The results lend support to Rowe, Vazsonyi, and Flannery's (1994) assertion that different racial/ethnic groups, including Asians, share similar developmental trajectories for delinquency, as well as to the ideas of the age-crime curve theory.

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