Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Structure, Children, Behavior, Parents, Risk, Ideal, Psychology

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/03

Family structure is often cited as one of the elements that influences child and adolescent behavioral problems. A lot of research has been conducted on this issue and there is increasing evidence that some types of family structure promote delinquent behavior in children and adolescents. The observed increase in the number of studies into the element of family structure as a cause of delinquency have been stimulated by the family structure changes that have been observed in the last few years. According to Simons, Simons and Wallace (2004, p. 77), “the two-biological-parent family form has traditionally been considered as the cultural ideal type of family”. However, this type of family is no longer so dominant and instead, new family forms have arisen. In fact, in the modern setting, less than 25% of families fit this model of a culturally ideal family (Family Structure and Delinquency, n.d).
Research seems to indicate there is an increased risk of engaging in delinquent behavior for children and adolescents who are not brought up in the traditionally ideal form of family (Family Structure and Delinquency, n.d).
One of the new forms of family whose numbers have increased drastically in the three of four decades is the single parent household. Most of these families are headed by never-married women while some are led by divorced women. Research shows that children brought up in single parent households have an increased risk for delinquent behavior. Simons, Simons and Wallace (2004) have tried to explain why this is the case. Being a single parent, is associated with a lot of stress. A lot of single mothers, especially the never been married experience role overload since they do not have a partner with whom to share parental responsibilities (Simons, Simons and Wallace, 2004, p.80). They are also faced with economic pressures. When parents are stressed, they tend to engage in less effective and conscientious parenting practices (Simons, Simons and Wallace, 2004, p.80). Ineffective practices in single parent households that may promote delinquency in children include less monitoring, display of more hostility, and use of minimally effective discipline (Family Structure and Delinquency, n.d).
Another type of family whose prevalence has increased is the blended and stepfamilies. These mainly arise from re-marriages where two different parents with children from their previous unions marry. Research also shows that children raised in these families also have an increased risk for delinquency. Some of the factors that may facilitate children delinquency as a result of blended families include difficulties in adjustment to a new environment and lack of legitimacy of the stepparent when it comes it discipline. Transition from single parent family to a two family parents may also be accompanied by adjustment difficulties that further facilitate delinquency.
Another form of family is the multigenerational and extended-kin households that unlike the blended and the single parent households have been observed to have better outcomes when it comes to child behavior.
The article by Magnuson and Berger (2009) is a brilliant example of a study conducted to show the relationship between delinquency and family structure. Using a sample of 3862 individuals , the Magnuson and Berger (2009) found that “residing in a single-family was associated with small increases in behavioral problems and decreases in achievement and that residing in a social father family was associated with small increases in behavior problems”. Another key finding from the same study was that family transitions were associated with behavioral problems increases as well as a marginal association with decreased achievement.
As observed, new forms of family have emerged in the last few decades. Research seems to show that these forms of family that are different from the traditionally ideal family structure comprising of two parents and their biological children are associated with an increased risk for child and adolescent delinquency. There are several questions that perhaps if explored could help shed even more light on the influence of family structure on delinquency. For example, what other family related aspects combine with family structure to influence child behavior? Are there any specific behavior problems and delinquencies that tend to be more influenced by family structure as compared to other influences? How can one tell if a certain delinquency is family-influenced?


“Family Structure and Delinquency”. Families and Crime. (CCJ 4931). 2014.
Simons, R.L., Simons, L.G., and Wallace, L.E. (2004). Families, Delinquency, and Crime: Linking Society’s Most Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury. (ISBN 1- 931719-30-6).
Magnuson, K., & Berger, L. M. (2009). Family structure states and transitions: associations with children's well‐being during middle childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(3), 575-591.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, November, 03) Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency. Retrieved August 08, 2022, from
"Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency." WePapers, 03 Nov. 2020, Accessed 08 August 2022.
WePapers. 2020. Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency., viewed August 08 2022, <>
WePapers. Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed August 08, 2022]. Available from:
"Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency." WePapers, Nov 03, 2020. Accessed August 08, 2022.
WePapers. 2020. "Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved August 08, 2022. (
"Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency," Free Essay Examples -, 03-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 08-Aug-2022].
Good Essay About Family Structure And Delinquency. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 03, 2020. Accessed August 08, 2022.

Share with friends using:

Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.

If you need an original paper created exclusively for you, hire one of our brilliant writers!

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now