Carla Alvarez

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)

Committee Chair

San Miguel, Claudia


Hirschi's social bond theory plays a substantial role in the explanation of juvenile delinquency. While social bond theory appears to play an important role in explaining delinquency among Non- Hispanic Whites, research on Hispanic populations is limited. The purpose of this study is to test the validity of social bond theory within the context of delinquency among a sample of Hispanic youth. In this research, self-administered surveys were given to 169 middle school students at United Independent School District (UISD) in Laredo, Texas. Assault, school delinquency, and public disturbance were used as measures of delinquency. Multiple regression analyses were employed to determine the significance of social bond theory in regards to Hispanic youth. Results indicated that for total delinquency, only attachment to parents demonstrated significance. For school delinquency, only school commitment was significant. However, delinquent friends, a control variable, demonstrated consistent statistical significance among all delinquency measures. Findings extend prior research on social bond theory and Hispanic delinquency but suggest that it is premature to conclude that social bond theory can account entirely for Hispanic delinquency. Further research should consider differential association and social learning theories, in addition to assimilation and generational status when testing delinquency among Hispanics.