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date: 24 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the degree to which empirical evidence demonstrates that families influence youth delinquency. Because they are most likely to be emphasized in life-course theories, this chapter focuses on parenting practices such as parental warmth and involvement, supervision and discipline of children, and child maltreatment. It also summarizes literature examining the role of children's exposure to parental violence, family criminality, and young (teenage) parents in affecting delinquency. Because life-course theories are ideally tested using longitudinal data, which allow examination of, in this case, the impact of parenting practices on children's subsequent behaviors, this chapter focuses on evidence generated from prospective studies conducted in the United States and other countries. It also discusses findings from experimental studies designed to reduce youth substance use and delinquency by improving the family environment.

Keywords: family influences, youth delinquency, youth offending, parental violence, family criminality, life-course theories, life course, family environment

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