Juvenile Delinquency Outliers: An Analysis of High Rate Offenders and Pure Conformists
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While the study of juvenile delinquency and young adult crime has a long history in a variety of disciplines, including criminology, criminal justice, sociology, and psychology, much of the research has been focused on the normalcy of law-violating behavior—the vast majority of young people break the law at some point, do so in groups, and age out of crime by early adulthood. Typically this delinquency is relatively minor and infrequent. There has been little research on two of the most interesting outliers of youthful crime and delinquency, namely high-rate offenders and pure conformists. There is much to be learned from the experiences of those juveniles and young adults who deviate from the statistically normal pattern of minor group offending during adolescence. Data from Waves I and II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health are analyzed using conjunctive analysis of case configurations, binary logistic regression, and multinomial logistic regression in order to uncover correlations between the groups of juveniles. The results of these analyses indicate that there are at least two distinct types of pure conformity—active and passive pure conformists. Active pure conformists likely sit on the opposite end of the delinquency spectrum from high-rate offenders. There is mixed evidence as to whether passive pure conformists are more similar to high-rate offenders than they are to either active pure conformists or statistically normal juveniles. Considerations for future research, as well as limitations of the current work, are also discussed.