Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.
College of Arts and Sciences
Social networking sites, like Facebook, have had an enormous impact on how people form relationships and the type of behavior that is shared with the public. The Social Bond Theory, created by Travis Hirschi (1969), states that individuals who have weak bonds to conventional society are more likely to commit acts of deviance than those who have strong bonds to conventional society. Going further with regards to Social Bond Theory, Hirschi (1960) along with Sampson and Laub (1990) and Salvatore and Taniguchi (2012) believed that strong bonds to the specific institutions of conformity to the norm of society, religion, work, education, activity not considered deviant, nation, military, family, and marriage are what deter an individual from committing deviant behavior. Alternatively, the Differential Association Theory, created by Edwin Sutherland (1947), states that individuals learn techniques, motivations, and attitudes towards deviant behavior from their peers. Both theories were tested against one another through examination of post and picture content of individuals who had and had not been arrested. Participants in this study were between the ages of 18-30, and had either been arrested in Rock Hill, SC within the year 2016 (n = 40) or had graduated from a high school in Rock Hill, SC (n = 38). Posts and pictures were examined and coded as: cannot be determined, conventional, unconventional, both, or moderate. Further, conventional posts and pictures were coded as: conformity to the norm of society, religion, work, education, activity not considered deviant, nation, military, family, and marriage. Results revealed that individuals who were arrested posted more unconventional posts than individuals who had not been arrested, while individuals who had not been arrested posted more conventional posts than individuals who had been arrested. Findings also indicate that the arrested group posted slightly more posts about marriage and family as compared to the not arrested group, suggesting that age plays a role in the importance of specific institutions. Overall, Social Bond Theory was better supported in this study through both posts and pictures collectively.
Smith, Jalen and Hayes, Matthew
"A Comparison of Arrested and Not Arrested Individuals Using Facebook,"
The Winthrop McNair Research Bulletin: Vol. 4
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.winthrop.edu/wmrb/vol4/iss1/9