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Bill McCarthy, Diane Felmlee, and John Hagan (2004)

Girl Friends Are Better: Gender, Friends, and Crime among School and Street Youth

Criminology, 42(4):805--836.

In recent years, popular media has drawn attention to ``mean girls'' & their negative treatment of others, particularly other females. But while the attention to girls' aggression & their mistreatment of their peers highlights understudied aspects of female behavior, it neglects the beneficial aspects of female friendship. We argue that compared to relationships with males, friendships with females provide more social control, fewer opportunities & less motivation for offending & may therefore discourage crime. Because an adolescent's gender likely influences the association between the gender of one's friends & crime, we anticipate that the association will be stronger for females than for males. The relationship is also likely affected by the context in which relationships originate; we expect that those that develop in less conventional contexts will have weaker effects on crime. We explore these hypotheses with a comparative analysis of effects of friendships on property crime in two samples of youth: those who live at home & attend school & those who are homeless & spend their days & nights on the street. Our findings support our hypotheses. The relationship between female-dominated friendship networks & property crime is negative & significant; however, this association is strongest for school females, weaker for school males & females who live on the street, & nonsignificant for homeless males. Adapted from the source document.

*Aggression, *Females, *Friendship, *Peers, *Juvenile Delinquency, *Crime, article, 2151: social problems and social welfare; juvenile delinquency
SubjectsTermNotLitGenreText - *Females; *Crime; *Juvenile Delinquency; *Peers; *Aggression; *Friendship

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