Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Joel Lieberman

Second Committee Member

Alexandra Nur

Third Committee Member

Seong Min Park

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study is to assess if justice-involved juveniles’ optimism toward future prospects mediates the relationship between parental and peer attachment and the likelihood of future delinquency. Theory and prior research support the argument that there is a negative relationship between parental and peer attachment and delinquency, and a negative relationship between optimism and delinquency. This study attempts to expand on this research by exploring whether parental and peer attachments influence delinquency through their influence on optimism for future prospects. This study utilizes data from the Pathways to Desistance Study, a panel study of seriously justice-involved youth, to assess that research question. The main findings of this study suggest that: parental attachment does not negatively influence delinquency directly when controlling for other factors; peer attachment positively predicts delinquency when controlling for other factors; optimism negatively predicts delinquency; and, parental and peer attachment are indirectly related to delinquency through the mediator of optimism. Policy implications include developing information and exercises on optimism within programming for at-risk and delinquent youth, especially for youth with low attachment to others, and providing trainings on how to encourage and build optimism for parents with at-risk and delinquent children.Keywords: juvenile delinquency, parental attachment, peer attachment, optimism


Juvenile Delinquency; Optimism; Parental Attachment; Peer Attachment


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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