Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Study: Delinquency Risk No Greater In Families With Stepparents

Date:
November 5, 1998
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Crime rates for adolescents from two-parent families are lower than for teens from single-parent families, even when one parent is a stepparent, a new University of Florida study finds.

Writer: Cathy Keen

Sources: Edwin Page, (540) 857-0016; Ron Akers, (352) 392-1025

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Crime rates for adolescents from two-parent families are lower than for teens from single-parent families, even when one parent is a stepparent, a new University of Florida study finds.

"The evidence suggests that divorce will have an effect on delinquency only where a two-parent family structure is not re-established," said Edwin Page, who did the research for his doctoral dissertation in sociology. "Youths living in two-parent families where one parent was a stepparent were no more delinquent than those living with both of their biological parents."

In this newly released nationwide study, Page studied comprehensive data on 1,169 boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 19. The data was collected as part of the National Youth Survey from 1978-1980. The participants lived with either a single parent, two parents or, in some cases, a relative or someone else other than a parent.

"The findings imply that having two adult caretakers in a household allows less opportunity for kids to go down delinquent paths," he said. "Two parents are better able than one to maintain a positive influence on kids when there are delinquent influences in the neighborhood or delinquent friends."

Since it's been known for some time that children from single-parent families face a higher risk of delinquency than those from two-parent families, the study may indicate that it's the bond with both parents and not the spiral of DNA that bodes well for the child's behavior, said Ron Akers, a UF sociologist who supervised Page's research.

"It's not the biological connection, it's the social connection -- having an intact familystructure," Akers said. "Two parents are better able to socialize and better able to supervise. I don't want to give the impression that single-parent families or single mothers are incompetent. Most kids from single-parent families turn out just fine. It's just that the odds are tougher for one person than two."

Single parents also are more likely than dual-parent families to face economic constraints that increase the chances of their children becoming delinquent, Akers said. "Single-parent families tend to be poorer and live in high-risk neighborhoods for crime," he said. "Not only are the peers children see more likely to be delinquent, but the neighborhoods and schools have fewer resources to help kids who are at risk."

The study found the relationship between family structure and delinquency was stronger for females than males. The difference in delinquent behavior between girls from one-parent families and girls from two-parent families was greater than the difference in delinquency between boys from single-parent and two-parent families.

"I don't have a real good answer for that other than to say that the family, in terms of discipline and socialization, tends to control females more than males," he said. "So family structure has a more direct impact on females than males."

The number of families with stepparents has increased during the last 30 years, although that trend has abated somewhat recently, Akers said. "In the last few years, we've seen a moderation of the divorce rate, the number of single mothers and the number of unmarried mothers," he said. "People remarry after a divorce, but second marriages also have a higher divorce rate than first marriages."

No matter what the trends, more can be done to help families, including providing economic support, assistance in the schools and parental skill training, Akers said. "We need to help sustain intact two-parent families, but at the same time we don't want to forsake the single-parent family," he said. "It seems to me these are good policies regardless of the impact they have on delinquency."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "UF Study: Delinquency Risk No Greater In Families With Stepparents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104144839.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1998, November 5). UF Study: Delinquency Risk No Greater In Families With Stepparents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104144839.htm
University Of Florida. "UF Study: Delinquency Risk No Greater In Families With Stepparents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981104144839.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins