Parental Modernity and Relational Forms of Delinquency and Control

Simon I. Singer, Northeastern University

I examine how a shift in parental attitudes towards children accounts for variation in delinquent behavior. In particular, I draw on the concept of parental modernity to distinguish those households which emphasize instrumental and relational forms of social control. Parental attitudes towards youth that stress self-reliance and independence, I expect to reproduce relational forms of control. I expect that the greater autonomy youth experienced in households characterized by parental modernity will increase the likelihood of relational forms of deviance. In contrast, traditional households which are characterized by parental attitudes that stress an obedience model of behavior I expect to reproduce instrumental forms of deviance. Survey data from a sample of high school youth and their parents are analyzed to test the significance of the hypothesized effects of parental modernity.

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Updated 05/20/2006