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Chapter 7

CRIM 210 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Peer Group, Child Abuse, Etiology

Course Code
CRIM 210
Ray Corrado

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CRIM 210 - Textbook - Chapter 7
Family has been identified as “causal” factor throughout Canadian history & youth gangs
& peer influences have been linked to crime & delinquency for at least 100 years
Schools now often presented as source of many youth crime issues
Interrelationships among family, school, peer impacts on delinquency - complex & not
easily understood, particularly when intersectionalities of race, class, gender added to
Control theory explanations such as Hirschi’s make intuitive sense
Children not attached to parents will be more delinquent than children who are
Many theories contradictory
Control theory argues strong attachments even to delinquent friends will
decrease delinquency, while differential association theory implies that strong
attachments to delinquent peers will increase delinquent behaviour
Most research examining r/s b/w family factors & youth crime has looked at either
structure of family/family relationships
Studies have taken microscopic perspective & examined family structure in terms
of whether family “broken” or whether both parents are working
Much of early research & conceptual understandings adopted traditional Western model
of family as “norm”
“Nuclear” family consisting of 2 heterosexual parents living w/ their own juvenile
In reality, families have diff structures & model of traditional nuclear family does not
represent structures of many families today
More recent research has identified 9 family “types”
Single parents w/ adopted/birth children
Elderly parents w/ married children
Blended families w/ married parents living w/ own juvenile children & children
from previous marriages
Family structure studies have assumed traditional model & begin research w/ premise
that anything other than traditional model is problem
Family r/s studies look at
Parenting skills
Parental supervision of children
Parenting styles
Young ppl’s attachments to parents
Family Structure
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Strong “intuitive” explanations exist as to why one-parent families may be more likely
than 2 parent families to produce delinquent children
Broken homes hypothesis - commonly held proposition that children from divorced &
single parent families more likely to be delinquent
Children in one parent families, particularly female-headed families, considerably poorer
than those in 2 parent families
In itself not necessarily problematic but additional fact that single parents do not
have support of another adult in home to assist in child rearing means potential
for less support & supervision for child, particularly if lone parent also has to work
long hours to provide for family
Assumption - children need paternal discipline & boys especially need male role models
for healthy development
3 major effects of divorce on women that may influence children’s behaviour
Single mothers overburdened from working in labour force & caring for children
Single mothers experience considerable financial stress in female-headed
households earn less than half income of male-headed households
Single mothers experience social isolation, meaning they have fewer social &
emotional supports
Meta-analysis - type of analysis in which unit of analysis is research results from other
research reports
Major problem w/ much of family structure research through 1970s & 1980s - did not
incorporate comparison group of families not divorced
Some of few studies using comparison groups flawed in that they relied on official data
Little research has examined positive effects of single-parenting on children
Could be argued that children are more independent & have stronger sense of
responsibility than children from 2 parent homes
Bulk of evidence suggests single mothers & working mothers do not “cause” delinquent
Negative parent-child r/s & poor parenting skills have been identified as significant risk
factors for youth criminality
Children whose parents engage in poor parenting practices more likely to have
behavioural problems than other children
Parenting skills programs commonly offered to parents whose children are experiencing
behavioural difficulties
Often as part of diversionary programs for young offenders
Baumrind suggested 2 most important aspects of parenting behaviour
Extend to which parents are supportive of children’s needs
Extent to which parents demanding of appropriate behaviour from children
Parents may be
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Supportive & demanding
Rejecting & demanding
Supportive & not at all demanding
Rejecting & not at all demanding
Authoritative parents - set standards & have expectations consistent w/ child’s age
Discuss & explain disciplinary matters w/ their children
Authoritarian parents - value obedience & conformity
Tend to restrict children’s autonomy & to favour use of punitive disciplinary
Indulgent parents - allow children considerable freedom, opposed to control/disciplinary
measures, see themselves more as resources for children than as disciplinarians
Indifferent parents - spend little time w/ children, know little about children’s activities,
tend to put own needs above those of children
In extreme cases, neglect children
Baumrind reports delinquent behaviour most likely to be found among children of
indifferent parents
Children involved in far more aggressive behaviour when parents are rejecting, highly
punitive, and/or limited nurturers
Results from NLSCY indicate parenting styles have far more impact on children’s
behavioural patterns than family structure/income levels
Differential association theory would suggest that children of criminal parents are more
likely to engage in criminal/delinquent behaviour
w/ single mothers, might be that police & courts more likely to criminalize misdeeds of
some children precisely b/c parents have criminal records & are known to police
Most research on family influences on youth crime has focused on family structure &
relations/r/s b/w 2
Very little has addressed larger social structure & impact on particular families
Hirschi’s control theory has important implications for predicting delinquency
Control theory hypothesis presented by Hirschi - children not “attached” to
parents will have higher rates of delinquency
Hyperactivity & hostile parenting were direct contributors to misconduct & aggression
Research found strong r/s b/w parental monitoring & violent delinquency where violent
delinquency included
Self-reported acts of threatened violence
Violent behaviour resulting in injury
Emailing to harass/frighten someone
Carrying weapon
Meaning of Family Attachment
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