Family Function and Incidence of Female Delinquency

Yaschica Williams, Western Michigan University

The bulk of literature that deals with juvenile delinquency focuses its attention on the male delinquent, with little effort made to investigate female delinquency. This paper gives attention to female delinquency as being influenced by the family. Although the family is not the only variable present that affects adolescent behavior it is, however, the one institution where individuals begin to learn social skills that will enable them to interact with others outside the domain of the family. There has been research to support both sides of the debate concerning the influence of structure or function on delinquency. This investigation uses data obtained from 869 females age nine to 19 residing in public or low income housing in Mobile, Alabama to examine the influence of family function variables (e.g., caring and trust, parent-child attachment, parental discipline, family rules, curfew, parental monitoring) on female delinquent activity. Two theories adapted to explain female delinquency are also examined. These theories include Walter Reckless's Theory of Internal and External Containment and Nye's Social Control Theory.

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Updated 05/20/2006