Title

Guilt by Association: The Relationship between Deviant Peers and Deviant Labels

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2015

Description

This study broadens labeling theory by examining the role deviant peers play in earlier stages of the labeling process. We propose that deviant peers serve as a source of information used in the decision to apply a deviant label by parents and school authorities. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health with cross-sectional (n = 12,011) and longitudinal (n = 9,267) samples, results show that higher levels of peer deviance are related to receiving both informal and formal labels. We also find that associating with deviant peers amplifies the effect of individual deviance on receiving an informal label.

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