A Good Friend’: The Role of Peer Networks in Juvenile Treatment Courts

Pamela Linden, Shelly Cohen

Abstract


A primary goal of Juvenile Treatment Courts is participant abstention from the use of alcohol and drugs. The present paper seeks to understand the role of social networks in participant abstention by examining the accounts of peer interactions of 37 current and former youth participants in New York State. This qualitative study found that while severing deviant network ties were involved in abstention in some cases, the dominant theme was the perceived protective role of emotionally close, albeit drug using, peers in supporting abstention. Although most cognitively based adolescent chemical abuse treatment programs explore the role of social networks in youth chemical use and abuse, the findings that youth in Juvenile Treatment Court programs have continued exposure to drugs and alcohol through interaction with their social networks suggest that social network interactions also enter into the discourse taking place within Juvenile Treatment Court settings.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2009.274

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