Parental Efficacy, Self-Control, and Delinquency: An Empirical Test of a General Theory of Crime

Satenik Margaryan, Rutgers University
Dina Perrone, Rutgers University
Christopher J. Sullivan, Rutgers University
Travis C. Pratt, Washington State University

A General Theory of Crime (1990) has received extensive empirical attention in the past decade. The relationship between self-control and delinquent or analogous behaviors has received considerable empirical support. Nevertheless, only a few studies have focused on Gottfredson and Hirschi's proposition that parenting has a primary influence on the development of the child's self-control. The data used in this study came from the first wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The Add Health study uses a large nationally representative sample of adolescents and their parents. The Add Health study contains questions on parental efficacy, delinquent and analogous behaviors, and behavioral and attitudinal measures of self-control. This paper addresses the gap in the literature by testing the effects of parental efficacy on self-control and delinquency. The paper employs factor and path analyses to test whether parental efficacy has an impact on self-control, which, in turn, affects delinquency. Alternatively, this study tests the direct effect of parental efficacy on delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006