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Effects of Parenting, Father Absence, and Affiliation with Delinquent Peers on Delinquent Behavior among African-American Male Adolescents

Paschall, Mallie J.; Ringwalt, Christopher L.; and Flewelling, Robert L.

Adolescence, vol. 38, issue 149, pgs. 15-34 (2003)

This study examined the effects of different aspects of parenting, father absence, and affiliation with delinquent peers on delinquent behavior in a cohort of African-American male adolescents. One round of survey data was collected from the youths' mothers or mother surrogates (N = 175) and two rounds of survey data were collected from the adolescents themselves. Analyses revealed that mothers' perceived control of sons' behavior was a deterrent of delinquent behavior, while other aspects of parenting (e.g., mother-son communication and relations) were not. The effect of mothers' perceived control was not mediated by adolescents' affiliation with delinquent peers. The effects of mothers' parenting variables and peer affiliation did not vary significantly by family structure, but socioeconomic disadvantage was more strongly associated with delinquent behavior in father-absent families. Though parenting effects were modest, this study suggests that African-American male adolescents are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior if they are closely monitored and supervised by their parents.