Criminogenic Knowledge Structure and Youth Violent Behavior: The Role of Co-Evolution of Friendship Network

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Yi-fu CHEN, Department of Sociology, National Taipei University, Taiwan
Recent advances in criminological theories have focuses on structured individual variation (or propensity) in violent behavior. Simons and Burt (2011) have proposed their knowledge structure theory. The theory proposes that environmental adversities (conflicted family relationship, disorganized community, and victimization) influence criminogenic knowledge structure (CKS), including immediate gratification, hostile view of relationship, and disengagement from conventional norms). This CKS, in turn, influences youth involvement in violent behavior. The theory of CKS focuses on individual framing on personal understanding of social scripts, interpersonal relationships, and social rules and norms. The social adversities structured the CKS and push the person into involvement of violence.

Although past studies have provided supportive evidence of the theory, two components of the theory remain untested. First, tests of the theory were based on African American samples. Whether or not the theoretical model can be applied to other populations remains in question. Second, although current literature on violent behavior emphasizes on the role of peers, CKS theory has not incorporated this important component in their theoretical and empirical work. The present study sets to fill this literature gap.

The present study adopts data from an on-going longitudinal study in Taiwan. There are around 1,600 adolescents, aged from 13 to 17 within 56 classes. Data on the components of CKS and friendship nomination within a class were collected to answer the proposed research questions: 1) Structural equation modeling will be used to test the construct validity of CKS in an East-Asian sample; 2) The dynamic influence of peers and their CKS will be assessed via friendship nomination across two time points. Network analysis will be used to present the impact of co-evolution of friendship network in both the network characteristics and attributes of the target adolescent’s friends.