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NCJ Number: 210744 Find in a Library
Title: Can Control Theory Explain the Link Between Parental Physical Abuse and Delinquency?: A Longitudinal Analysis
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:42  Issue:3  Dated:August 2005  Pages:247-274
Author(s): Cesar J. Rebellon; Karen Van Gundy
Date Published: August 2005
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study drew on longitudinal data to test whether control theory can account for the relationship between parental physical abuse and delinquency.
Abstract: While researchers have suggested that parental physical abuse is linked to delinquency, there has been little empirical testing of the mechanisms underlying this association. The current study tested two main hypotheses concerning the role of control in the association between physical abuse and delinquency: (1) delinquency is an outcome of poor parenting (parental physical abuse) that impedes the development of self-control, and (2) delinquency is an outcome of the weakening of parent-child social bonds (due to physical abuse), lower youth investment in long-term goals, and the weakening of conventional values. Data were drawn from 3 waves (1976 through 1978) of panel data from the National Youth Survey (NYS), a national survey involving a probability sample of 1,725 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 years at the time of the first interview. Variables under analysis included measures of delinquency, abuse, social control, and demographic controls. Results of regression analyses indicated that while parental physical abuse was related to violent and property offending, self-control and social bonding theories were unable to explain the relationship between physical abuse and delinquent offending. The findings add to a growing literature suggesting that different types or amounts of adversity may promote delinquency above and beyond an individual’s self-control. The implications for practice suggest efforts effective at reducing parental physical abuse may also reduce certain types of delinquency. Future research should focus on how other forms of parental abuse may influence delinquency. Tables, figures, references
Main Term(s): Child abuse as delinquency factor; Social control theory
Index Term(s): Adolescent abuse; Parental influence; Social bond theory
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