Testing social support theory: A multilevel analysis of recidivism

Erin A. Orrick, John L. Worrall, Robert G. Morris, Alex R. Piquero, William D. Bales, Xia Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Purpose: Tests of social support theory have relied on aggregate crime rates as the outcome of interest, but such a focus ignores the potentially important macro-level processes and effects on individual-level behavior We thus perform the first multi-level investigation of social support theory. Methods: Multilevel modeling is used to explore whether the two varieties of county-level social support - the presence of charitable organizations and AFDC expenditures - are associated with recidivism in a sample of Florida prison releasees. Results: Results show that while social support explains little variation in individual-level recidivism, a combination of private and public social support may reduce the likelihood of reconviction for drug offenses. Conclusion: Findings provide mixed evidence for the prospect that social support-whether governmental or nongovernmental-is associated with recidivism among recently-released inmates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


Cite this

Orrick, E. A., Worrall, J. L., Morris, R. G., Piquero, A. R., Bales, W. D., & Wang, X. (2011). Testing social support theory: A multilevel analysis of recidivism. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(6), 499-508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2011.09.005