In this article the influence of five different social networks of children on their criminal behavior is examined: the network of kids at school, of friends in the neigborhood, of siblings (of similar young age), of friends at the sports club, and of the peers in a group or gang. How strong is the influence of each network of friends on the criminality of the children, and which characteristics of these networks affect their criminality? As could be expected, results show that children with deviant friends undertake criminal activities far more often. The sheer presence of one or several deviant examples seems to be a more critical factor than the degree of involvement in these deviant groups. The effects of deviancy in the networks of friends do not disappear if the effects of resources, attachment to the parents, (cultural) beliefs and capacities are taken into account. This supports the view that we are dealing with independent effects of these five social networks.

Jolijn Broekhuizen, Frans Driessen en Beate Völker​


December 2008

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