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Parents, Peers, and Delinquency

Mark Warr
Social Forces
Vol. 72, No. 1 (Sep., 1993), pp. 247-264
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580168
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580168
Page Count: 18
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Parents, Peers, and Delinquency
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Abstract

Criminologists have long recognized the importance of family and peers in the etiology of delinquency, but these two influences are commonly analyzed in isolation. However, if peers are treated as potential instigators of delinquency (following differential association theory) and parents as potential barriers to delinquency (following control theory), a crucial question emerges: Is parental influence capable of counteracting the influence of delinquent peers? Analysis of data from the National Youth Survey reveals that the amount of time spent with family is indeed capable of reducing and even eliminating peer influence. By contrast, attachment to parents (the affective relation between parents and offspring) apparently has no such effect. Instead, it appears to affect delinquency indirectly by inhibiting the initial formation of delinquent friendships.

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