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The Broken Family and Juvenile Delinquency: Scientific Explanation or Ideology?

Karen Wilkinson
Social Problems
Vol. 21, No. 5 (Jun., 1974), pp. 726-739
DOI: 10.2307/799645
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/799645
Page Count: 14
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The Broken Family and Juvenile Delinquency: Scientific Explanation or Ideology?
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Abstract

The relationship between broken homes and juvenile delinquency was widely accepted from about 1900 until 1932. Then the broken home was rejected for a period of time. In the past 20 years, there has been a revival of interest in the broken home as an important factor in predicting delinquency. More recent studies have provided contradictory evidence; some evidence supports the hypothesis, while other evidence fails to support it. It is the contention here that these periods of varying acceptance reflect changing cultural and ideological conditions rather than scientific empirical evidence. Because cultural bias seems to have been influential in affecting the acceptance of the broken home as a factor in delinquency etiology, further research is justified before either accepting or rejecting the importance of the broken home as a significant variable in delinquency theory.

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