, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 223-235,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Sep 2007

Trajectories of Delinquency and Parenting Styles

Abstract

We investigated trajectories of adolescent delinquent development using data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study and examined the extent to which these different trajectories are differentially predicted by childhood parenting styles. Based on self-reported and official delinquency seriousness, covering ages 10–19, we identified five distinct delinquency trajectories differing in both level and change in seriousness over time: a nondelinquent, minor persisting, moderate desisting, serious persisting, and serious desisting trajectory. More serious delinquents tended to more frequently engage in delinquency, and to report a higher proportion of theft. Proportionally, serious persistent delinquents were the most violent of all trajectory groups. Using cluster analysis we identified three parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian (moderately supportive), and neglectful (punishing). Controlling for demographic characteristics and childhood delinquency, neglectful parenting was more frequent in moderate desisters, serious persisters, and serious desisters, suggesting that parenting styles differentiate non- or minor delinquents from more serious delinquents.