Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Kevin I. Minor

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


The purpose of this thesis is to integrate the labeling perspective and social support perspective into the central causal process of Charles Tittle's control balance theory. This will explain the linkages between child maltreatment and delinquency. The child maltreatment experience and the consequent label of victim affect a youth's self concept which in turn affects how a provoking event will be interpreted. The child maltreatment experience lessens the amount of control imbalance necessary for a provoking event to be interpreted as humiliating. The victim label also affects motivation for deviance indirectly through its effects on the control ratio and opportunity for deviance as described in control balance theory. The presence of social support works to reverse the affects of stigmatization due to labeling. Consequently, social support becomes a mediating variable in the link between child maltreatment and delinquency. A discussion of all these theories is included along with a review of pertinent literature on the theories. Application of the control balancing process to staff and youth interactions in residential settings is also included.