International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Differential association theory and juvenile delinquency in Ghana’s capital city - Accra: The case of Ghana borstal institute

Thomas Antwi Bosiakoh1* and Paul K. Andoh1,2
  1Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Legon, P. O. Box LG 65, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. 2Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 August 2010
  •  Published: 30 November 2010


Current sociological theories argue that, delinquency results from economic and family relational problems. Unable to have their parents meet their material needs, children turn to all sorts of activities, many of which eventually lead to delinquent acts. Other theories focus on the role of peer relationships in determining deviancy. Using Edwin Sutherland’s differential association theory, this study explores the notion that, delinquency in inmates of the Ghana borstal institute is a reflection of the peer groups/friendship relations they hanged out with. Data for the study were collected from the Ghana borstal institute, a correctional institution for reforming juvenile offenders with structured questionnaire. The findings point to the presence of Differential Association at the onset of inmate’s delinquent behaviours though circumspection is recommended in the attempts to validate differential association as the study was carried out on institutionalized, verified group of delinquent juveniles. The close relationship between differential association and delinquency may not be present in non-institutionalized juvenile offenders.


Key words: Differential association, juvenile, delinquency, Sutherland, borstal, Ghana.