This article compares Dutch rural and non-rural adolescents’ delinquent behavior and examines two social correlates of rural delinquency: communal social control and traditional rural culture. The analyses are based on cross-sectional data, containing 3,797 participants aged 13–18 (48.7% females). The analyses show that rural adolescents are only slightly less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Furthermore, while rural adolescents are exposed more often to communal social control, this does not substantially reduce the likelihood that they engage in delinquent behavior. Concerning rural culture, marked differences appeared between rural and non-rural adolescents. First, alcohol use and the frequency of visiting pubs were more related to rural adolescents’ engagement in delinquent behavior. Second, the gender gap in delinquency is larger among rural adolescents: whereas rural boys did not differ significantly from non-rural boys, rural girls were significantly less likely to engage in delinquent behavior than non-rural girls. However, the magnitude of the effects of most indicators was rather low. To better account for the variety of rural spaces and cultures, it is recommended that future research into antisocial and criminal behavior of rural adolescents should adopt alternative measurements of rurality, instead of using an indicator of population density only.
- social-disorganization theory
- general strain theory
- youth violence