The Relation of Family functioning to Patterns of Delinquency Within Types of Urban Neighborhoods

Deborah Gorman-Smith, University of Illinois - Chicago
Patrick H. Tolan, University of Illinois - Chicago
David Henry, University of Illinois - Chicago

ABSTRACT
Person-centered approaches to understanding delinquent and criminal careers have identified several distinct pathways or patterns of delinquent behavior (Gornan-Smith, Tolan, Loeber & Henry, 1998, Loeber, Stouthamer-Loeber, Van Kammen & Farrington, 199 1). In addition, research suggests that there may be etiological variations that correspond to these different pathways (Gorman-Smith et al., 1998). The current study brings a person-centered analysis to examine how patterns of family functioning relate to pattens of offending. In addition, this study contextualizes these relations by examining how these relations vary as a function of community setting. Using four waves of data from the. CYDS, cluster analyses of delinquency variables, family relationship characteristics and parenting practices, and community and neighborhood factors were conducted to derive patterns of each that could be related to each other via logistic regression and categorical modeling. Differential relations between configurations of family characteristics and patterns of delinquency involvement were found, These relations were dependent, to some extent on the neighborhood context. Overall, the patterns found suggested that some family configurations elevate risk in the presence of certain neighborhood conditions, while others relate to risk across neighborhood types, but with varying magnitudes. Recognizing these patterns is an important advance in designing interventions and in targeting groups for prevention efforts.

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Updated 05/20/2006