Is the Effectiveness of Teen Court Dependant Upon Gender?
Dugas, Denise Marie
Gottfredson, Denise C
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Teen Court (TC) is an innovative juvenile diversion program that has spread rapidly across the United States in recent years. Although this program has received many praises from the media, parents, and teens, rigorous research on its effectiveness is lacking. Only a few studies have been conducted and the results have been mixed. Recently, the University of Maryland conducted a randomized evaluation of four TCs in Maryland. This study expands upon the evaluation specifically examining whether the effects of TC on delinquency are conditional upon gender. Based on labeling theory it is hypothesized that labeling will increase delinquency through a negative self-concept. Alternatively, gender socialization suggests males and females will respond differently to the characteristics of TC. It is hypothesized that TC will result in positive self-concept for females only. Hence, TC will reduce levels of future delinquency for females only. Implications related to the findings will be discussed.