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Archives on the Air 296: Will Your Boy Go Bad? – Grace Robinson Papers

Concern mounted in the 1950s about juvenile crime and delinquency. Even FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was alarmed. He maintained that part of the problem lay with parents.

Harvard criminologists Sheldon & Eleanor Glueck conducted research that supported Hoover’s claims. After more than 20 years studying thousands of delinquent and non-delinquent boys, the Gluecks developed several theories. One was that poverty, in itself, did not seem to cause delinquency. A second theory was that the probability that a boy would grow up to commit a crime could be calculated. Their Glueck Social Prediction Scale was developed to evaluate six-year-old boys.

They believed that by quantifying each boy’s interaction with his parents and his home life, they could identify future criminals. The Glueck’s test was of great interest to sociologists and parents, alike.

Read more about the Glueck Social Prediction Scale in the Grace Robinson papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.