Objectives: Social disorganization theory implies that neighborhood disadvantage influences delinquency in part through the weakening of neighborhood-level social ties and residents’ commitment to social norms. We test these associations by focusing on social ties among neighborhood parents and adolescent commitment to social norms. Methods: We use a population survey of adolescents and combine it with administrative (population) data on school neighborhood characteristics in Iceland. We use multilevel data on 83 school communities and 5,865 adolescents in Iceland to analyze our hypotheses. Results: We find partial support for our hypotheses. Thus, adolescents living in neighborhoods characterized by concentrated disadvantage are more delinquent, net of individual-level (household) characteristics. Moreover, neighborhood-level parental networks and adolescent commitment to social norms mediate a part of this contextual effect. Conclusion: By supporting community theories in a different societal context (i.e., in a small homogeneous society) than most prior work, our study strengthens the external validity of the existing research. As we use cross-sectional data, the study faces the limitation of not being able to separate the constructs temporally.
© The Author(s) 2014.