A Comparison of Male Juvenile Offenders and Non-Offenders of Color With Respect to Their Perceptions of Self, Peers, and Police Officers

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William G. Wagner

Advisor Department



Today's socio-cultural climate reflects an overrepresentation of male adolescents of color in the juvenile justice system and a tenuous relationship between the police and racially/ethnically diverse communities. Although research has shown that adults of color have more negative views of police when compared to European Americans, there is little empirical evidence to suggest that a similar pattern exists for adolescents of color. The present study explored male adolescents' of color perceptions of self, expectations of peers, and attitudes toward police officers. The sample consisted of fifty-one 12 to 18 year adolescent males of color (25 juvenile offenders & 26 non-offenders). Offender status and communication style served as independent variables, CESBQ-R Peer, SPPA Global Self-Worth, and the Portune ATP, and the Hostility and Positive Affect subscales of the MAACL-R4 as dependent variables, and age as the covariate. Findings from MANCOVA statistical test yielded no significant interaction effect for offender status and communication. Univariate ANOVA results revealed no differences between juvenile offender's and non-offender's attitudes toward police, but suggested that adolescents of color expect negative interactions with police. The results also showed that offender status had no effect on self-concept. Correlation analyses yielded a significant relationship between attitudes toward police and expectation of peers, but no relationship between self-concept and global self-worth. A summary of the findings, conclusions, limitations, implications of findings is presented, followed by recommendations for future research.