Purpose - This research examines which factors determine delinquent behaviour in youths between the ages of 12 and 24 years in ’s Hertogenbosch. Methods – 2231 boys and girls from the general population participated in a self-report survey about themselves and their environment. The factors that determine delinquent behaviour are divided into four categories: an individual level, the family, peers and school and the social and cultural environment. Findings – The model can successfully predict 45 percent of the variance in delinquency scores for the boys and 32 percent for the girls. The four most important determinants for juvenile delinquency are: hanging around on the street, low school motivation, having delinquent friends and the use of drugs. Several gender differences were found. For boys the strongest contributing factor to juvenile delinquency is ‘the use of drugs’. Amongst girls it is ‘hanging around on the street’. ‘Low motivation’ is more likely to produce delinquent behaviour in boys and ‘having delinquent friends’ has a greater impact on delinquent behaviour in girls. The strongest predictors are found at the level of ‘peers and school’. Other important results from this research are the following: boys between the ages of 13 and 16 represent the most delinquent group, with a peak in delinquency at the age of 14. Young people with a low level of education are more delinquent than young people with a higher level of education. No significant differences regarding delinquency were found between youths from Dutch or foreign origin. Similarly, no links were found between the social and cultural environment and family factors and juvenile delinquency. Discussion – The outcomes of this research partly corroborate findings of earlier studies. Discrepancies may be due to the fact that previous studies have been carried out in judicial settings, whereas the present study used a random group of youths
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