An examination of social capital as a delinquency protective factor for youth living in impoverished neighborhoods
This research utilized the Mobile Youth Study (MYS), a community-based multiple cohort longitudinal study of at-risk behaviors of youth living in the Mobile, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The extent that social capital serves as a protective factor in deterring juvenile delinquency for youth living in impoverished neighborhood was examined. Social capital included neighborhood connectedness, routine activities, attachment to school, hope, caring, attachment to friends, and warmth toward mother. Juvenile delinquency included gun carrying, knife carrying, weapon brandishment, and weapon use. Using multiple linear regression, within the Granger Causality framework, this study explored social capital as a protective factor in deterring juvenile delinquency. Results indicate a juvenile was more likely to carry a knife or gun depending on their age and if they identified their birth mother as the person most like a mother to them. Social capital factors of attachment to school and hours spent weekly hanging out with friends serve as a protective factor in deterring juveniles to brandish a weapon. Social capital factors of caring about others, hours spent working at a paid job, and attachment to school serve as protective factors in deterring juveniles from using a weapon. Implications for social work practice in schools, families, and communities are discussed in light of social capital factors deterring juvenile delinquency.