Document Type



Master of Arts


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Elaine Doherty


Adam Boessen

Lee Slocum

Richard Rosenfeld


Institutional Anomie Theory argues instrumental crime and violence are a result of weakened social controls that are caused by an imbalance of values favoring the economy. Anomie causes a new moral standard to emerge, one that encourages normative flexibility to achieve goals. The emphasis on the economy permeates into noneconomic institutions that cause them to adopt economic principles and weakens them. The result of this process is that individuals may develop market mentality. Past research has considered normative flexibility to be embedded within market mentality. However, this assumption has not been formally tested. The concepts may be theoretically distinct and empirically distinct. A formal test of this assumption would provide a better understanding of how market mentality relates to deviance and crime. The current study tests if market mentality mediates the relationship between normative flexibility and delinquency using a sample of 2,748 adolescents from thirty-one schools across the U.S. A factor analysis found normative flexibility and market mentality are distinct theoretical concepts. A multiple regression found normative flexibility is a significant predictor of market mentality. A series of negative binomial regressions did not find evidence that market mentality mediates neutralization, property crimes, and violent crimes. Future research should regard market mentality and normative flexibility as distinct concepts and they should not be lumped together.