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Social Learning Theory and the Youth Gang Epidemic

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  1. Introduction
  2. The proposition made by Sutherland
  3. The social development model used by the SSDP
  4. Aspects of the social learning theory
  5. Akers and Burgess's proposition on criminal behavior
  6. The social learning theory and its application to a variety of crimes
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

The existence of youth gangs is evident in large and small cities throughout America, and more often than not, delinquency and crime are associated with those gangs. Robert L. Akers and Robert L. Burgess developed the widely-accepted social learning theory in the 1960s, and that theory can be used to explain why delinquency and criminal behavior exists in this country's youth gangs.

[...] The use of Akers and Burgess's social learning theory does a great deal to explain why certain youthful individuals are more susceptible to delinquent and criminal activity. Akers and Sellers (2004) summarizes adequately: The social learning explanation of crime and delinquency has been strongly supported by the research evidence. Research conducted over many years, including that by Akers and associates, has consistently found that social learning is empirically supported as an explanation of individual differences in delinquent and criminal behavior. [...]


[...] According to Akers and Burgess's sixth proposition of the social learning theory, once delinquent behavior is reinforced, the learning of non-criminal behavior leaves the picture (Ronald Akers and Social Learning Theory, para. 18). If a child comes in contact with gang influences in their daily environment, the pure nature of adolescence will overcome the youth and the young person will succumb to those influences. Gang involvement exists in every state, and, unfortunately, there is no escaping it. the 79 U.S. [...]

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