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Exploring the link between Confucian sincerity and reduced deviancy among young people

Nicholas Lassi1

Abstract
This study examines the link between Confucian sincerity theory and deviancy among young people. The Confucians believed that sincerity of mind, in both general behavior and in ritual, reduces deviancy. When sincerity is limited or lost, they thought, family responsibilities lose meaning, social bonds weaken, rituals are not respected, and young people become deviant. Variables representing sincerity, “Child cheats or tells lies” and “Lied to parents about something important,” were used from the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult dataset and tested by negative behavioral outcome variables. The data was attained from responses in the NLSY79 in the years 1988, with a sample of 3,721, and 1998, with a sample of 3,754. Sincerity
was linked to a lower likelihood for antisocial behavior, breaking things deliberately,
bullying or being cruel/mean to others, and negative behaviors that require a parent at
school, even after controlling for gender, ethnicity, and date of birth. Higher levels of
sincerity were linked to a lower probability for deviant behavior among young people.

Keywords: Confucianism, sincerity, deviancy, crime, NLSY79