Social Learning and Cyber-Deviance: Examining the Importance of a Full Social Learning Model in the Virtual World

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Journal of Crime and Justice




Akers’ social learning theory is one of the most recognized criminological theories because of its comprehensiveness and strong empirical support. Recent research that has applied social learning theory to account for the problem of cybercrime and deviance has provided only partial examinations of the social learning process and gives little insight into the Social Structure and Social Learning (SSSL) model. This study uses structural equation modeling to assess the full social learning process and finds social learning to be a second-order latent construct that explains a large variation in cyber-deviance. In addition, the social learning process mediates the effects of race and sex on cyber-deviance. We conclude with further implications for research on both cyber-deviance and the SSSL model.