Unraveling the Social Context of Physique and Delinquency

A New, Long-Term Look at the Gluecks’ Classic Study
  • Robert J. Sampson
  • John H. Laub
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 292)


In 1950, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck published their now classic study, Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency. One of the most frequently cited works in the history of delinquency research, the Gluecks sought to answer a basic and enduring question—what factors differentiate boys reared in poor neighborhoods who become serious and persistent delinquents from boys raised in the same neighborhoods who do not become delinquent or antisocial? To address this question, the Gluecks studied in meticulous detail the lives of 500 delinquents and 500 nondelinquents who were raised in the same low-income environments of central Boston during the Great Depression era (circa 1928–1940).


Social Bond Body Type Criminal Record Crime Type Criminal Career 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blumstein, Alfred, Jacqueline Cohen, Jeffrey Roth, and Christy Visher, (Eds.). 1986. Criminal Careers and “Career Criminals”. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cortes, J.B. and Gatti, F.M., 1972. Delinquency and Crime: A Biopsychological Approach. New York: Seminar Press.Google Scholar
  3. Geerken, Michael R. 1994. “Rap Sheets in Criminological Research: Considerations and Caveats.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 10:3–21.Google Scholar
  4. Gibbens, T.C.N. 1963. Psychiatric Studies of Borstal Lads. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Glueck, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck. 1950. Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency. New York: Commonwealth Fund.Google Scholar
  6. Glueck, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck —. 1956. Physique and Delinquency. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  7. Glueck, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck —. 1968. Delinquents and Nondelinquents in Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gove, Walter R., Michael Hughes, and Michael Geerken (1985). “Are the Uniform Crime Reports a Valid Indicator of Index Crimes?” Criminology 23: 451–501.Google Scholar
  9. Hartl, Emil, E. Monnelly, and R. Elderkin. 1982. Physique and Delinquent Behavior: A Thirty-Year Follow-up of William H. Sheldon’s of ‘Varieties of Delinquent Youth’. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  10. Laub, John H., and Robert J. Sampson. 1988. “Unraveling Families and Delinquency: A Reanalysis of the Gluecks’ Data.” Criminology, 26: 355–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Laub, John H. and Robert J. Sampson. 1991. “The Sutherland-Giueck Debate: On the Sociology of Criminological Knowledge.” American Journal of Sociology 96: 1402–1440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McCord, Joan, 1979. “Some Child-Rearing Antecedents of Criminal Behavior in Adult Men.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37: 1477–1486.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sampson, Robert J., & Laub, John, H. 1993. Crime in the making: Pathways and tuming points thmugh life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Sampson, Robert J., & Laub, John, H. — 1994. “Urban Poverty and the Family Context of Delinquency: A New Look at Structure and Process in a Classic Study.” Child Development 65:523–540.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schuessler, Karl, 1973. Edwin H. Sutherland on Analyzing Crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sheldon, William, S. Stevens, and W. Tucker, 1940. The Varieties of Human Physique. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  17. Sheldon, William, 1954. Atlas of Men: A Guide for Somatotyping the Adult Male at all Ages. New York: Gramercy Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  18. Sutherland, Edwin H. 1951. “Critique of Sheldon’s Varieties of Delinquent Youth.” American Sociological Review 16: 10–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vaillant, George E. 1983. The Natural History of Alcoholism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Whyte, W.F. 1943. Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Widom, Cathy Spatz. 1989. “Child Abuse, Neglect, and Violent Criminal Behavior.” Criminology 27: 251–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wilson, J.Q. and Hermstein, R.J. 1985. Crime and Human Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Sampson
    • 1
  • John H. Laub
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Northeastern UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations