Social Bonding Theory, Model Minority Stereotype, and Differences in Drug Use between Whites and Asians
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Although the concept of Asian Americans being “model minorities” has been referenced in relation to racial/ethnic differences in educational and socioeconomic achievement, criminologists have not explored whether the stereotype is relevant to the explanation of differences in delinquency and drug use between Asian and non-Asian adolescents. The model minority stereotype would have us expect Asian American adolescents to be “model” in their family relations and educational attainment in the way that whites are. However, continuing covert marginalization of Asians Americans questions the extent to which these “model” characteristics explain delinquency, such as substance use, between Asians and whites. Applying this to Hirschi’s social bonding theory, I hypothesize that bonding variables of attachment, specifically, affection towards and communication with parents, are less likely to explain drug use among Asian American adolescents than the other bonding elements, that is, commitment to school, compared to their white peers. To test these hypotheses, I analyze the first two waves of restricted data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health.