ERIC Number: ED343055
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Another Look at the Relationship between the Broken Home and Juvenile Delinquency.
Free, Marvin D., Jr.
Inadequate samples, methodological deficiencies, and inadequate measures of delinquency and family structure have contributed to the confusion regarding the relationship between the broken home and delinquency. This investigation, seeking to overcome many of the deficiencies of earlier research, used a large, geographically diverse sample, a 70-item self-reported delinquency measure, and familial and nonfamilial variables to examine the broken home/delinquency relationship. The confounding of results that occurs when different types of broken homes are collapsed into a composite measure was eliminated by restricting the broken home variable to one-parent variables. Subjects (N=1,011) were college students between the ages of 17 to 22 years old. Sixteen of the 70 categories in the delinquency measure were found to be significantly related to family structure. These included such items as having broken into a locked car, hit a teacher, used cocaine, and stayed away from school when parents thought the student was there. While these findings suggest that family structure adds little to the understanding of delinquency, the broken home may yet prove to be an important variable in the formation of delinquency. It remains to be seen what influence stepfamilies, adoptive families, and foster homes have on the evolution of delinquent behavior. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (Cincinnati, OH, August 21-23, 1991).