Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence

The dynamics of peer-networks and their impact on youth delinquency

Short Description

The aim of the research project is to analyze the dynamics of peer-networks and their relevance for youth delinquency. It is furthermore interested in the change of conflict lines - also in regards to ethnical dimensions - between adolescents in the context of violent confrontations. The project aims to help understand the processes of the formation and transformation of networks, their general framework and their impact on delinquent behavior. A longitudinal qualitative method design will be applied to analyze this. We believe in a great potential for innovation with this approach because our prior empirical  knowledge from studies of the Institute for interdisciplinary research on Conflict and Violence point to some significant but little analyzed changes regarding the social environment of deviating adolescents. These should first be analyzed in an exploratory manner, before a deepening and expansion of the insights is to be followed in a quantitative research project later on. In accordance with this we furthermore conjecture a potential for innovation for the sociological-criminological theory development. The insights can contribute to this in various areas.
The work regarding the research questions will be based on a longitudinal study with 40 male adolescents in the age of 15 to 18 years. Diverse themes are to be queried with eight survey points to understand their change as well as the change of the peer-network. For a deepening and supplementation of the so gained insights qualitative expert interviews are planned, in which it will also be possible to discuss open-ended questions. These interviews will not be carried out repeatedly and all in all 20 are intended with individuals, who are in contact with adolescents out of professional reasons. This will lead to about 180 interviews when maxed out.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Zick
Dr. Steffen Zdun

Dipl. Soz. Denis van de Wetering

Funded by
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)