The Role of Non-Custodial Parenting on Children's Delinquent Behavior

Lonnie M. Schaible, Washington State University

The role of family disruption in the production of delinquency has received considerable attention in both political and academic arenas. As such, issues like 'single motherhood,' 'nontraditional families,' and 'absentee fathers' have served as buzz phrases alerting us to the 'potential dangers' that family disruption poses for children. Not surprisingly, academic research has followed suit in its attention to family disruption with countless assessments of the relevance of these matters for the socialization of children, especially 'single mothers' and 'non-traditional family structures.' However, a notable deficiency exists in the empirical assessment of non-custodial parents, such as 'absentee fathers,' role in child socialization. The proposed study seeks to assess the relative impact of non-custodial and custodial parenting practices and their role in the production of delinquency. The National Survey of Children, a longitudinal data set containing items of interest collected from both children and custodial parents, will be used to assess the degree to which dynamics between custodial parents, non-custodial parents, and children have an influence on the outcome of delinquency. Multivariate statistical procedures will be used to assess the independent and combined effects of custodial and non-custodial parenting practices on children. Findings will be presented and discussed in order to provide a better understanding of the impact that the dynamics of non-custodial parenting has on adolescent delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006