The "Broken Home" or Broken Society: A Sociological Study of Family Structure and Juvenile Delinquency

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Sheehan, Hillary R.
Family Structure; Juvenile Delinquency; Family, Life Course, and Society; Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance
article description
Despite the great interest in the relationship between family structure and delinquent behavior generally, very little agreement among researchers as well as the general public has been reached on the issue to this day. The present study examines whether family structure plays a role in juvenile delinquency. More precisely, it explores whether single parents are more likely to have their adolescent children involved in delinquency than are two parents. This analysis does not support the structural hypotheses, which argues that single parents have children who are at an increased risk of being involved in delinquent behavior. While these findings provide further evidence that children living with single parents are not at an increased risk of being involved in delinquent behavior, additional research is needed to further evaluate the causes and risks associated with involvement in delinquent behavior.