Christopher and Jennifer Janikula.
1999. “Volunteerism and Arrest in the Transition to Adulthood.” Social Forces 78:331-62.
work appears to have many beneficial effects on the volunteer. Among these are
increased self-acceptance (King, Walder and Pavey 1970), instrumentality (Logan 1985), and civic identity
(Johnson, Beebe, Mortimer and Snyder 1998; Serow 1990; Youniss, McLellan, and
Yates 1997). In addition to these psychological effects, volunteer work also
promotes prosocial actions, such as helping behavior (Oesterle, Johnson, and
Mortimer 1998; Wilson and Musick 1997a) and political participation (Hanks
1981). Social observers since Tocqueville  have posited that volunteerism
would also reduce antisocial or criminal behavior. Yet, few investigations have
assessed the effects of volunteering on crime among a general sample of
adolescents and young adults. Prior research has generally been limited to
problem behaviors such as teen pregnancy and dropout (Allen, Kuperminc,
Philliber, and Herre 1994; Moore and Allen 1996; Weissberg, Caplan, and Harwood
1991), or to studies of offender populations (Hanson 1985; Morris 1970; Nirel,
Landau, Sebba, and Sagiv 1997; Young, Gartner, O’Connor, Larson, and Wright
1995), or to volunteer services provided to
(rather than by) youth (Frazier 1983;
Schondel, Boehm, Rose, and Marlowe 1995). This paper is the first to test
whether volunteer work reduces the likelihood of arrest in early adulthood
among a representative community sample of youth.