The Interrelationships of Self-efficacy, Parental Monitoring, and Child's Delinquency - A Longitudinal Study

Cheng-hsien Lin, Texas A & M University
Howard B. Kaplan, Texas A & M University

Past research has found that parental monitoring is one of the most effective ways deterring child's delinquency, and child's self-efficacy is negatively associated with delinquency. Literature also suggested that parents who have higher self-efficacy are more likely to learn new skills to strengthen their interaction with children and thus to prevent children's delinquency. However, past studies have not addressed interrelationships of parental self-efficacy, child's self-efficacy, parental monitoring and child's delinquency. What is the role of parental self-efficacy among these variables is also unclear. By using a longitudinal data consisting of 2,419 parent-child pairs (children lived with both biological parents), we adopted structural equation models to demonstrate that parental self-efficacy is an important variable, directly and indirectly (through child's self-efficacy and parental monitoring), which can deter children delinquency (violence, stealing, and substance use). Results suggests that parental self-efficacy can deter child's delinquency mainly through parental monitoring and child's self-efficacy. Parental monitoring had the strongest negative association with child's delinquency (r=-.47, p<.001) and child self-efficacy (r=.57, p<.001), and child's self-efficacy is significantly related to child's delinquency (r=-.28, p<.001), while parents' race/ethnicity and education levels were controlled. A further analysis showed that there is no substantial difference between boys and girls.

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Updated 05/20/2006