Gender Differences in Juvenile Offenders
January 12, 2013
“Contemporary interest in female delinquency has surged, fueled by observations that although the female delinquency rate is still lower than the male rate, the patterns of male and female delinquency are quite similar and the gender gap appears to be closing in the United States and abroad.” (Siegel and Welsh, pg. 146) The types of delinquent acts that females are engaging in today are getting more and more similar to males. Also females are becoming more well-known in gangs and gang violence.
Psychologists think that the way males and females socialize affect their development. “Although there are few gender differences in aggression during the first few years of life, girls are socialized to be less aggressive than boys and are supervised more closely.” (Siegel and Welsh, pg. 147) As girls mature they learn to react by feeling anxious, unlike boys, who are egged on to retaliate. Generally, females are more likely to feel distressed than males.
“Girls seem to be more deeply affected than boys by child abuse, and the link between abuse and female delinquency seems stronger than it is for male delinquency.” (Dixon, Howie and Starling, 2005) Many girls bear a heavy load of emotional problems that leads them to delinquency. Compared to males, female juveniles that commit murder have higher rates of child abuse, substance abuse, mental health problems, depression, anxiety, and irritability. Home life of females has an extremely strong impact on their mental health and law violating behaviors.
“Power control theory suggests that class influences delinquency by controlling the quality of life.” (Hagan, Gillis and Simpson, 1987) Mothers are expected to control the behavior of their daughters while giving more freedom to sons. Males have a higher degree of delinquent behavior than their sisters. Upper-class youths may do more petty delinquency than lower-class youths because they are brought up to not fear any consequences.
Even though girls are still less likely to be arrested than boys, females who fail to live up to stereotypes of proper female behavior are more likely to be arrested than males.
1. L.J. Siegel and B.C. Welsh, “Juvenile Delinquency” The Core. Fourth edition 2011. 2. Angela Dixon, Pauline Howie, and Jean Starling, “Trauma Exposure, Stress, and Co morbidity in Female Juvenile Offenders,” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: 798-806 (2003). 3. John Hagan, A.R. Gillis, and John Simpson, “The Class Structure and Delinquency”, American Journal of Sociology, 1151-1178 (1985).