A recent study on juveniles in the United States suggests that adolescents with unpopular first names are more likely to engage in criminal activity.
David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee of Shippensburg University compared the first names of male juvenile delinquents to the first names of male juveniles in the population, and constructed a popularity-name index (PNI) for each name.
The researchers revealed that Michael was found to be the most frequently given name at the time, with the PNI for it being 100.
They further noted that the PNI for David was 50, a name given half as frequently as Michael.
They also found that the PNI is approximately 1 for names such as Alec, Ernest, Ivan, Kareem, and Malcolm.
Revealing their findings in the journal Social Science Quarterly, the researchers said that the least popular names appeared to be associated with juvenile delinquency among both blacks and whites.
While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers think that they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socio-economic status, and households run by one parent.
The researchers also think that adolescents with unpopular names may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships.
According to them, juveniles with unpopular names may also act out because they consciously or unconsciously dislike their names.
"First name characteristics may be an important factor to help identify individuals at high risk of committing or recommitting crime, leading to more effective and targeted intervention programs," the authors conclude.