Much of the delinquency research conducted today is guided by integrated and life course theories. Integrated theories combine aspects of social structure, social learning, and social bonding theories to predict delinquency. Life course or developmental theories also integrate traditional theoretical perspectives, but in addition, they emphasize that delinquency is a developmental process whereby innate temperament, social stresses, attachments, and opportunities early in life predispose some youths to later delinquent involvement. Delinquent involvement, in turn, adversely affects normative social relationships and opportunities to increase the likelihood of further delinquency and adult criminal behavior. This snowball effect is especially likely to occur if delinquency results in arrest, juvenile justice system intervention, and resultant stigma.
Whereas social disorganization and early strain theories emphasized social structural inequalities as the primary cause of delinquency, process theorists focus on social interactions within primary groups such as the family and peer group. Two influential process theories are the social learning theory and the social bonding theory. Social learning theory, also known as differential association theory, suggests that juvenile delinquents learn delinquent values, attitudes, and behavior through their associations in families, peer groups, schools, and neighborhoods. According to this perspective, the delinquent is essentially normal, but through exposure to deviant influences, the youth learns delinquent behavior in the same ways that any other behavior is learned.
The bio-psychosocial factors are an essential pieces for mental health professional to prevent and/ or reduce juvenile delinquent behaviors (Keenan, et al., 2003).