Family Structure Influences Teen Delinquency

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.

The structure of teens’ families influences their risk of delinquent behaviors such as shoplifting, graffiti, or robbery, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers analyzed survey data gathered between 2016 and 2019 from more than 3,800 14- and 15-year-olds in Sweden. They used a statistical measure called incident rate ratio, or IRR, to compare groups.

Compared to teens who lived with a mother and father, delinquent behavior was more common among those who lived with a single father (IRR: 1.898); a single mother (IRR: 1.661); a father and stepmother (IRR: 1.606); or a mother and stepfather (IRR: 2.044).

An IRR of 2, for example, means the rate is twice as high, explained study authors Robert Svensson, a professor of criminology, and Björn Johnson, a professor of social work, at Malmö University in Sweden.

The risk of delinquent behavior was also higher among teens with only one parent who had a new partner, the investigators found.

“This study shows that it is important to move on to the use of more detailed categorizations of family structure in relation to delinquency, and to increase our knowledge about the group of adolescents that moves between parents, and especially about the different constellations of asymmetrical and symmetrical living arrangements,” the authors concluded in the report published online in PLOS ONE.

Source: HealthDay

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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