Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 313–335 | Cite as

Selection and Influence: A Meta-Analysis of the Association Between Peer and Personal Offending

  • Owen GallupeEmail author
  • John McLevey
  • Sarah Brown
Original Paper



Whether people are affected by the criminal behavior of peers (the “influence” perspective) or simply prefer to associate with others who are similar in their offending (the “selection” perspective) is a long-standing criminological debate. The relatively recent development of stochastic actor-oriented models (SAOMs—also called SIENA models) for longitudinal social network data has allowed for the examination of selection and influence effects in more comprehensive ways than was previously possible. This article reports the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that use SAOMs to test for peer selection and influence effects.


A systematic review and 3-level random effects meta-analysis of studies that have used SAOMs to test selection and influence dynamics for offending behavior.


There is support for both influence (mean log odds ratio = 1.23, p < 0.01, 21 effects, pooled n = 21,193) and selection dynamics (mean log odds ratio = 0.31, p < 0.01, 28 effects, pooled n = 21,269). Type of behavior, country, and the year of the first wave of data collection are found to moderate the influence effect; no significant moderation effects are found for peer selection on offending.


People are both influenced by the offending of their peers and select into friendships based on similarity in offending.


Selection Influence Crime Meta-analysis Stochastic actor-oriented models 



The authors would like to thank Nate Doogan for his valuable comments on an earlier version of this article.

Supplementary material

10940_2018_9384_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)
10940_2018_9384_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (50 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 51 kb)


  1. Achen, C. H. (2000). Why lagged dependent variables can suppress the explanatory power of other independent variables. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the political methodology section of the American Political Science Association, Los Angeles, CAGoogle Scholar
  2. Akers RL (2009) Social learning and social structure: a general theory of crime and deviance. Transaction Publishers, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  3. Akers RL, Jensen GF (2006) The empirical status of social learning theory of crime and deviance: the past, present, and future. In: Cullen FT, Wright JP, Blevins KR (eds) Taking stock: the status of criminological theory. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, pp 37–76Google Scholar
  4. Baerveldt C, Volker B, Van Rossem R (2008) Revisiting selection and influence: an inquiry into the friendship networks of high school students and their association with delinquency. Can J Criminol Crim 50(5):559–587Google Scholar
  5. Boman JH, Ward JT (2014) Beyond projection: specifying the types of peer delinquency misperception at the item and scale levels. Deviant Behav 35(7):555–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boman JH, Stogner JM, Miller BL, Griffin OH, Krohn MD (2012) On the operational validity of perceptual peer delinquency: exploring projection and elements contained in perceptions. J Res Crime Delinq 49(4):601–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borenstein M, Hedges LV, Higgins J, Rothstein HR (2009) Introduction to meta-analysis. Wiley, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burk WJ, Steglich CEG, Snijders TAB (2007) Beyond dyadic interdependence: actor-oriented models for co-evolving social networks and individual behaviors. Int J Behav Dev 31(4):397–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burk WJ, Kerr M, Stattin H (2008) The co-evolution of early adolescent friendship networks, school involvement, and delinquent behaviors. Rev Fr Sociol 49(3):499–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  11. Dahl V, Van Zalk M (2014) Peer networks and the development of illegal political behavior among adolescents. J Res Adolesc 24(2):399–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Cuyper R (2008) Good friends, bad behavior? The co-evolution of friendship relations and delinquency involvement among Dutch adolescents. Master’s thesis, Radboud University NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  13. De Cuyper R, Weerman F, Ruiter S (2009) De co-evolutie van vriendschapsrelaties en delinquent gedrag onder Nederlandse jongeren. Mens en Maatschappij 84(3):300–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De La Rue L (2015) The influence of family and friends on girls’ delinquency: a social network analysis. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  15. Dijkstra JK, Lindenberg S, Veenstra R, Steglich C, Isaacs J, Card NA, Hodges EVE (2010) Influence and selection processes in weapon carrying during adolescence: the roles of status, aggression, and vulnerability. Criminology 48(1):187–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dijkstra JK, Berger C, Lindenberg S (2011) Do physical and relational aggression explain adolescents’ friendship selection? The competing roles of network characteristics, gender, and social status. Aggressive Behav 37(5):417–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dijkstra JK, Gest SD, Lindenberg S, Veenstra R, Cillessen AHN (2012) Testing three explanations of the emergence of weapon carrying in peer context: the roles of aggression, victimization, and the social network. J Adolesc Health 50(4):371–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franken A, Moffitt TE, Steglich CEG, Dijkstra JK, Harakeh Z, Vollebergh WAM (2016) The role of self-control and early adolescents’ friendships in the development of externalizing behavior: the SNARE study. J Youth Adolesc 45(9):1800–1811CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Glueck S, Glueck E (1950) Unraveling Juvenile delinquency. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Gottfredson M, Hirschi T (1987) The methodological adequacy of longitudinal research on crime. Criminology 25(3):581–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gottfredson M, Hirschi T (1990) A general theory of crime. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Haynie DL (2001) Delinquent peers revisited: does network structure matter? Am J Sociol 106(4):1013–1057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haynie DL, Osgood DW (2005) Reconsidering peers and delinquency: how do peers matter? Soc Forces 84(2):1109–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haynie DL, Doogan NJ, Soller B (2014) Gender, friendship networks, and delinquency: a dynamic network approach. Criminology 52(4):688–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hedges LV, Tipton E, Johnson MC (2010) Robust variance estimation in meta-regression with dependent effect size estimates. Res Synth Methods 1(1):39–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Higgins JPT, Green S (2011) Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions: the Cochrane collaboration. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  27. Hirschi T (1969) Causes of delinquency. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  28. Ioannidis JPA (2016) The mass production of redundant, misleading, and conflicted systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Milbank Q 94(3):485–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jose R, Hipp JR, Butts CT, Wang C, Lakon CM (2016) Network structure, influence, selection, and adolescent delinquent behavior: unpacking a dynamic process. Crim Justice Behav 43(2):264–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kerr M, Van Zalk M, Stattin H (2012) Psychopathic traits moderate peer influence on adolescent delinquency. J Child Psychol Psyc 53(8):826–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Knecht A (2008) Friendship selection and friends’ influence: dynamics of networks and actor attributes in early adolescence. Ph.D. dissertation, Utrecht University, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  32. Knecht A, Snijders TAB, Baerveldt C, Steglich CEG, Raub W (2010) Friendship and delinquency: selection and influence processes in early adolescence. Soc Dev 19(3):494–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kreager DA, Schaefer DR, Bouchard M, Haynie DL, Wakefield S, Young J, Zajac G (2016) Toward a criminology of inmate networks. Justice Q 33(6):1000–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee ST (2011) An actor-oriented approach to friendship networks: re-analysis and further model specifications of the published model by Baerveldt, Volker & Van Rossem (2008). Master’s thesis, University of OxfordGoogle Scholar
  35. Light JM, Dishion TJ (2007) Early adolescent antisocial behavior and peer rejection: a dynamic test of a developmental process. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev 118:77–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Logis HA, Rodkin PC, Gest SD, Ahn H-J (2013) Popularity as an organizing factor of preadolescent friendship networks: beyond prosocial and aggressive behavior. J Res Adolesc 23(3):413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McGloin JM, Thomas KJ (2016) Considering the elements that inform perceived peer deviance. J Res Crime Delinq 53(5):597–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Molano A, Jones SM, Brown JL, Aber JL (2013) Selection and socialization of aggressive and prosocial behavior: the moderating role of social-cognitive processes. J Res Adolesc 23(3):424–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Osgood DW, Feinberg ME, Ragan DT (2015) Social networks and the diffusion of adolescent problem behavior: reliable estimates of selection and influence from sixth through ninth grades. Prev Sci 16(6):832–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pratt TC, Cullen FT, Sellers CS, Winfree LT Jr, Madensen TD, Daigle LE, Fearn NE, Gau JM (2010) The empirical status of social learning theory: a meta-analysis. Justice Q 27(6):765–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pratt TC, Turanovic JJ, Fox KA, Wright KA (2014) Self-control and victimization: a meta-analysis. Criminology 52(1):87–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rebellon CJ, Modecki KL (2013) Accounting for projection bias in models of delinquent peer influence: the utility and limits of latent variable approaches. J Quant Criminol 30(2):163–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ripley RM, Snijders TAB, Boda Z, Voros A, Preciado P (2018) Manual for RSiena (version April 17, 2018), University of Oxford, Department of Statistics. Nuffield College, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  44. Rulison KL, Gest SD, Loken E (2013) Dynamic social networks and physical aggression: the moderating role of gender and social status among peers. J Res Adolesc 23(3):437–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shin H (2017) Friendship dynamics of adolescent aggression, prosocial behavior, and social status: the moderating role of gender. J Youth Adolesc 46(11):2305–2320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sijtsema JJ, Ojanen T, Veenstra R, Lindenberg S, Hawley PH, Little TD (2010) Forms and functions of aggression in adolescent friendship selection and influence: a longitudinal social network analysis. Soc Dev 19(3):515–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Snijders TAB (2001) The statistical evaluation of social network dynamics. Sociol Methodol 31(1):361–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Snijders TAB, Baerveldt C (2003) A multi-level network study of the effects of delinquent behavior on friendship evolution. J Math Sociol 27(2–3):123–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Snijders TAB, Van de Bunt GG, Steglich CEG (2010) Introduction to stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics. Soc Netw 32(1):44–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Steglich C, Snijders TAB, West P (2006) Applying SIENA: an illustrative analysis of the coevolution of adolescents’ friendship networks, taste in music, and alcohol consumption. Methodology 2(1):48–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Steglich C, Snijders TAB, Pearson M (2010) Dynamic networks and behavior: separating selection from influence. Sociol Methodol 40(1):329–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sutherland EH (1947) Principles of criminology, vol 4. J. B. Lippincott, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  53. Svensson Y, Burk WJ, Stattin H, Kerr M (2012) Peer selection and influence of delinquent behavior of immigrant and nonimmigrant youths: does context matter? Int J Behav Dev 36(3):178–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Turanovic JJ, Young JTN (2016) Violent offending and victimization in adolescence: social network mechanisms and homophily. Criminology 54(3):487–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Van Zalk MHW, Van Zalk N (2015) Violent peer influence: the roles of self-esteem and psychopathic traits. Dev Psychopathol 27(4pt1):1077–1088CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Viechtbauer W (2010) Conducting meta-analyses in R with the metafor package. J Stat Softw 36(3):1–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wang C, Butts CT, Hipp JR, Jose R, Lakon CM (2016) Multiple imputation for missing edge data: a predictive evaluation method with application to Add Health. Soc Netw 45:89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Warr M (2002) Companions in crime. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Weerman FM (2011) Delinquent peers in context: a longitudinal network analysis of selection and influence effects. Criminology 49(1):253–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Weerman FM, Hoeve M (2012) Peers and delinquency among girls and boys: are sex differences in delinquency explained by peer factors? Eur J Criminol 9(3):228–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Weerman FM, Wilcox P, Sullivan CJ (2018) The short-term dynamics of peers and delinquent behavior: an analysis of bi-weekly changes within a high school student network. J Quant Criminol 34(2):431–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Legal StudiesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Knowledge IntegrationUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.LibraryUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations