Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS)

Degree Name

Interdisciplinary Studies

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Sociology, Statistics, Indian Law

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Dusten Hollist

Commitee Members

Raymond Cross, David Patterson, Daniel Doyle


American Indian, Blackfeet, juvenile delinquency, juvenile substance use, Montana Youth Needs Prevention Assessment Survey, Native American, social bonding theory, social disorganization theory, social learning theory


University of Montana


The history and current situations of American Indians are unique and important arenas to forward the study of crime and delinquency. There may be no better group available to study the combined effects of concentrated disadvantage, social disorganization, and abrupt societal change than the modern day American Indian community. But do traditional variables constructed to test sociological theories fit the study of this population? Findings from hypotheses testing the differences in overall effects of social control, social disorganization, social bonding, and social learning variables on delinquency and substance use suggest that there are differences in their ability to account for the variation among respondents of American Indian, White, and other racial backgrounds. The effect of social control variables for American Indian youth substance use and delinquency was particularly important. Social learning and social control variables were consistently strong predictors of delinquency and substance use for all races, while social bond variables were not. This might simply mean that not only are the variable models not adequate explanations for the patterns reported by AI youth, but they might not be adequate for any of the youth regardless of their race. But it could also indicate differences in worldview and the understanding of indicators used to measure variables. These findings support the applicability of some theoretical variables for the research of American Indians, but suggest that there are key differences that merit further attention in the literature, policy, and practice.



© Copyright 2010 Wendy Linn Running Crane