Lindsey Wilkinson

Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 55 pages)


Problem youth -- Education, Student activities, Motivation in education, Prediction of criminal behavior, Juvenile delinquency




Research with adolescence demonstrates school involvement and attachment greatly influences students' outcomes and choices outside of their school environment. Many studies have addressed whether delinquent behavior while in adolescence is associated with various aspects of schooling, but there is limited research looking at the long-term effects schooling has on criminal behavior in adulthood. The purpose of this study was to assess whether students' attachment to their school or involvement in extracurricular activities at school shapes students' outcomes in adulthood--specifically their criminality and likelihood of being arrested. In addition, this study took on a gendered relationship, examining how gender moderates the associations between attachment and adult crime, and involvement and adult crime. The study took a quantitative approach using Waves 1 and 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Findings indicate that a students' attachment to school is negatively associated with the likelihood of being arrested as an adult. In addition, the likelihood of adult criminal behavior is negatively associated with students' school involvement. Lastly, in this study I found that gender acts as a moderating mechanism between attachment and criminality, as well as sports involvement and arrested as an adult. Thus, this research adds to the established field, which has demonstrated how school involvement and attachment improve outcomes in adolescence, by showing that these positive experiences impact downstream outcomes such as criminal behavior in adulthood.

Persistent Identifier