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Family Structure, Family Processes, Economic Factors, and Delinquency: Similarities and Differences by Race and Ethnicity

NCJ Number
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2009 Pages: 79-99
Michael J. Leiber; Kristin Y. Mack; Richard A. Featherstone
Date Published
April 2009
21 pages
This study examined family structure, family processes, and economic factors and its relationship to delinquency among ethnic groups.
Findings suggest that differences do not exist in the relationship among family structure, family processes, and economic factors with regard to juvenile delinquency. Family structure itself is not predictive of non-serious or serious delinquency once family processes and economic factors are considered. On the family process variables, only maternal attachment was consistently found to be an important predictor of both types of delinquency in both intact and non-intact households. The quality of the parent-child attachment has a stronger influence on delinquency among youth than other factors such as family structure and economic circumstances of the household. The findings suggest that effects of maternal attachment on delinquency held for Whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics and support the claim for universality among race/ethnic groups. Data were collected from 9,636 students attending 80 high schools and 52 "feeder schools" that were stratified by region, urbanicity, school type, ethnic mix, and size using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Tables, appendix, notes, and references


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