Explaining aggressive and delinquent behaviors of disadvantaged adolescents: The impact of negative metastereotypes (working title)For over 50 years now criminological labeling theorists have argued that delinquent behavior can be further corroborated by societal reactions towards the persons concerned – particularly by labeling them as “criminals” (e.g. Bernburg, Krohn & Rivera, 2006). Beyond that, reformulations of labeling theory state that perceptions of prevalent stereotypes in society, which go along with the negative label, can have an impact on attitudes and behaviors of members of negatively ‘labeled’ groups (Link, Cullen, Struening, Shrout, & Dohrenwend, 1989; see also Major & O’Brien, 2005). Such beliefs about the stereotypes that an outgroup holds of the ingroup are referred to as metastereotypes in the social psychological literature (Vorauer, Main, & O’Connell, 1998).
The aim of my PhD-project is to investigate the impact of negative metastereotypes concerning the outgroup ‘majority society’ on aggression and delinquency in two groups of disadvantaged adolescents: incarcerated juvenile delinquents and adolescents with a precarious educational background, respectively. My central hypothesis is that negative metastereotypes enhance aggression and delinquency in these groups. Additionally, I examine if personal self-esteem moderates these effects and if societal disintegration predicts negative metastereotypes in disadvantaged adolescents. For this purpose, longitudinal data are collected and structural equation modeling with latent variables is applied.
With my PhD-project I want to contribute to the understanding of (social-) psychological consequences of metastereotypes concerning the majority society in individuals with a precarious socialization background.
Bernburg, J. G., Krohn, M. D. & Rivera, C. J. (2006). Official labeling, criminal embeddedness, and subsequent delinquency: A longitudinal test of labeling theory. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 43, 67–88.
Link, B. G., Cullen, F. T., Struening, E., Shrout, P. E., & Dohrenwend, B. P. (1989). A modified labeling theory approach in the area of mental disorders: An empirical assessment. American Sociological Review, 54, 400-423.
Major, B. & O´Brien, L. T. (2005). The social psychology of
stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 393-421.
Vorauer, J. D., Main, K. J., & O’Connell, G. B. (1998). How do individuals expect to be viewed by members of lower status groups? Content and implications of meta-stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 17-937.