Do Parents Matter? Testing Harris's Group Socialization Theory of Youthful Misconduct

John P. Wright, University of Cincinnati
Francis T. Cullen, University of Cincinnati
Leah E. Daigle, University of Cincinnati

In a radical departure from traditional analyses of the socializing influence of families, numerous scholars how openly question whether parents "matter" in the behavior of their youth. Informed by research from behavioral genetics, critics maintain that beyond passing on inherited traits, parents do not have any appreciable influence on their youth. Using data from a large-scale study designed to take genetic effects into account,k we test the core hypotheses drawn from Judith Rich Harris's controversial Group SocializationTheory--a theory that argues that peers and individual traits are the main sources of variation in youthful misconduct.

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Updated 05/20/2006