Gender differences in family relationships and school delinquency

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Waldman, Brittany A.
Pearson, Jennifer D.

Adolescents spend most of their waking time in school or on school grounds, and as a result, many adolescents first encounter delinquency there. Research has found that youth who have strong family relationships develop positive relations with others, engage in pro-social activities, and avoid delinquent behavior. The purpose of this study is to explain the connection between family relationships and school delinquency and examine how these links vary by gender. In this research, social capital theory will be used to understand the connection between school delinquency and family relationships. The present study examined the associations between multiple aspects of family relationships (i.e. parental supervision, family rules, parental communication, parental school contact, parental interaction) and school delinquency. Analysis was conducted on the public-use data from the 2002 Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS: 2002), a nationally representative, longitudinal study of 10th graders (N=8,169). There were four research questions that were examined in this study: 1) What aspects of family relationships are associated with delinquency?; 2)? Are there gender differences in delinquency?; 3)? Are there gender differences in family relationships?; and 4)? Are there gender differences in the association between family relationships and delinquency? Results show that the family relationship variables were significantly associated with school delinquency, but these associations were not as strong as expected. Through gender interaction terms, only one of the family relationship variables had a different effect for males and females: parental school contact is positively related for both males and females, but this association is stronger for males. This study will contribute to the existing literature by highlighting more specifically what types of family dimensions' effect school delinquency more. Ideally, this will create the opportunity for schools to focus their attention on student's family life and risk and protective factors, when delinquency is becoming an issue in their academic success.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Sociology