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Abstract

Viewing delinquency as unsocializized behavior and games as a mini-life social situation demanding social conformity, it was predicted that differences would be found between delinquent and non-delinquent boys in their preferences for types of games. Fifty delinquent and fifty non-delinquent boys were studied and findings indicate that: 1) delinquents show greater preference for games of chance and non-delinquents for games of strategy, and 2) delinquents prefer games with low rule specificity and high opportunity for the direct expression of agression, while non-delinquents prefer games with the opposite characteristics.

An area of major neglect in the massive literature on juvenile delinquency has been the analysis of game preferences of delinquent youth. Although games represent universal behaviors, enjoyable activities, and self-reinforcing events, little systematic attention has been given to the study of the differences among game choices of delinquent and non-delinquent youth. Overviews of research on games by Avedon and Sutton-Smith (1971) and Livingston, et. al. (1973) fail to report any studies related specifically to delinquents. This study represents a beginning attempt to identify such differences.

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