Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

Major Advisor

Jessica Wells, Ph.D.


Shaun M. Gann, Ph.D.


Cody Jorgensen, Ph.D.


Travis Hirschi’s social bond theory holds that the social bonds (attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief) individuals have with parents, friends, extracurricular activities, work, and school can affect an individual’s life choices. When social bonds are weakened, broken, or nonexistent, the lack of these bonds can explain why crime and delinquency occur. Therefore, Hirschi believed that asking why offenders “do it” when it comes to crime is irrelevant. Rather, we should be asking “why don’t we do it” when it comes to crime and delinquency, which lead Hirschi to believe that the answer to that question could be answered by the bonds individual have with others. To better understand this relationship, this study will analyze how a lack of social bonds can either increase or decrease the chances of a youth being victimized through a victim’s perspective rather than the criminal’s.

Using Hirschi’s (1969) theory on social bonds, it was hypothesized that adolescents with stronger attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief bonds decreases their likelihood of victimization. Using secondary data from the National Youth Survey Data (Elliot, 1987), analyzing 1,725 participants, and calculating descriptive statistics, logistic regression models were used to determine whether or not strong social bonds decreased adolescent victimization. Results suggested the opposite. Results showed that 1 of the 4 bond types (involvement), increased the chances of victimization. Meaning that as involvement increased, victimization increased as well. This thesis concludes with a discussion of the methodology, major findings, limitations, and future research.