Social Bond and Self-Reported Nonviolent and Violent Delinquency: A Study of Traditional Low Risk, At-Risk, and Adjudicated Male Chinese Adolescents

Heng Choon Oliver Chan, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Little is known about the level of social bond elements and their effects on delinquency among nonadjudicated (traditional low and at-risk school-aged) and adjudicated Chinese male adolescents. Objective: Using a large adolescent sample (N = 1,177) from Hong Kong and Macau, this study aims to distinguish the level of social bond elements and self-reported nonviolent and violent offending among traditional low risk, at-risk, and adjudicated adolescents. The social bond effects on delinquency are also examined. Methods: A 24-item social bonding measure is used. Results: Findings indicate that juveniles reported higher frequencies of nonviolent and violent offending in the past year than their traditional low and at-risk counterparts. Relative to at-risk and adjudicated youth, traditional low risk adolescents reported a higher level of overall social bond. Multivariate analyses indicate that poor parental bonding, poor educational commitment, negative belief in the legal system, and high involvement in organizational activities are related to an increased level of nonviolent and violent offending. The social bond effects on delinquency varied among different groups of adolescents. Conclusions: Regardless of differences in social bond levels among different groups of adolescents, implications for delinquency programs or social services are proposed that may benefit all adolescents. Specifically, an enhancement in parent–child and police-adolescent relationships, and commitment to education are expected to reduce the adolescents’ propensity to engage in nonviolent and violent delinquency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-730
Number of pages20
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Delinquency
  • Hong Kong Chinese
  • Macau Chinese
  • Social bond
  • Social control theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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