Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marisa Omori

Second Committee Member

John W. Murphy

Third Committee Member

Mitsunori Ogihara


The author develops and implements a self-esteem deprivation hypothesis theory. By using this theory, he argues that the corroded self-concept of minority youth influenced by racial/ethnic discrimination may lead them to delinquent behaviors. The author analyzes African-American and Hispanic male youth with mixed methods. By estimating a single equation model and two simultaneous equation models with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (N=1,355), the author finds that experiencing discrimination predicts marijuana use, but self-esteem does not mediate discrimination and marijuana use. To help explain these results, narratives of five young men in Miami are interpreted through a thematic narrative analysis. In their narratives, the author discovers incongruities between the youth’s perceptions of prejudice and their own lives. The author concludes that minority youth cope with discrimination by developing two levels of consciousness- On a more superficial level of consciousness, they maintain their self-esteem by fending off discriminatory treatments and not thinking about prejudice. On a deeper level of consciousness, however, they confront existential strain between the marginalized image of themselves influenced by others and the image of themselves as members integrated into a non-discriminatory society. This conflict of images resulting from existential strain may corrode their self-concept and result in delinquency.


Self-Esteem Deprivation Hypothesis; Existential Strain Theory; Juvenile Delinquency; Discrimination; Peacemaking Criminology; Critical Sociology

Available for download on Saturday, May 01, 2021