Juvenile-perpetrated homicide is a complicated and sensitive topic in the literature. Uncovering the potential influences on a juvenile is arguably important for recognizing the trends in juvenile behavior and the devastating consequences of some of this behavior. Family disorganization, a component to social disorganization as proposed by Elliott and Merrill (1934), explained that families with higher levels of social disorganization (as measured by factors such as poverty, welfare, and residential mobility) are expected to have higher numbers of juvenile delinquents. Using this theoretical frame, data from 1984-2006 on juvenile-perpetrated homicide in 91 of the largest cities in the United States was analyzed. This investigation uncovers relationships between the rate of juvenile homicide offenders and family disorganization in cities across the U.S. While more research is needed on family structure and other measures of family disorganization are needed to confirm these findings, higher percentages of female-headed households and owner-occupied housing were found to decrease the rate of juvenile homicide offenders in most models. On the contrary, unemployment, poverty, and higher percentages of public assistance were seen to increase this rate. Findings suggest that more research is needed on the family unit with regard to juvenile homicide offenders. This study further suggests avenues for assisting single-parent households and outlines the tools necessary to provide the best possible outcomes for our youth. The results not only provide insight for prevention efforts, but provide an updated foundation from which to build future research in this area.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Murray, Brittany, "Juvenile-Perpetrated Homicide and Family Disorganization" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4940.