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25 Criminology 671 (1987)
Peer Group Interventions to Reduce the Risk of Delinquent Behavior: A Selective Review and a New Evaluation

handle is hein.journals/crim25 and id is 683 raw text is: PEER GROUP INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE
The Johns Hopkins University
Evaluations of correctional treatment programs for criminal offenders
and of school-based delinquency prevention programs based on Guided-
Group Interaction (GGI) and similar interventions are critically reviewed.
One study-the Provo Experiment-provided convincing evidence for the
superiority of a community treatment program involving GGI over incar-
ceration (for persons who would otherwise be incarcerated) and modest
superiority over probation (for persons who would otherwise be assigned
probation). Some evaluations of school-based prevention programs involv-
ing GGI derivatives that have been cited as supporting the efficacy of these
programs are flawed and may be misleading. A new experimental evalua-
tion of a school-based intervention based on a GGI derivative implies that
it increased delinquent behavior among students exposed to it.
Peer group interventions to reduce the risk of delinquent behavior are sug-
gested by the observation that youths who engage in delinquent behavior tend
to have delinquent friends (Gottfredson, 1982b). Divergent theoretical per-
spectives make divergent interpretations of this fact. Glueck and Glueck
(1950) and Hirschi (1969) have suggested that association with delinquent
peers is an alternative indicator of delinquent behavior-a reflection of birds
of a feather flocking together. In contrast, Akers, Krohn, Lanza-Kaduce,
and Rodesevich (1979) and Sutherland and Cressey (1974) argued that delin-
quent values and skills are acquired through association with delinquent
peers. If peer associations can foster delinquent behavior by providing exam-
ples, provocation, or encouragement, or if such associations can restrain
youths from delinquent behavior by examples, approbation, or reasoning,
* The preparation of this report was supported in part by grants from the National
Institute for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions expressed are the
author's and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Institute.
I thank Monserrate Diaz, LaMar Empey, Denise C. Gottfredson, John Holland, Barbara
Tatem Kelley, William Kottman, Geantry Luster, Vermont McKinney, Emily Martin,
Donald E. Rickert, Jr., Jane St. John, and Cecilia Smith-each of whom helped make this
research possible. This paper is an abbreviated version of a technical report presented at
the 1986 annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology.


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