Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 677–689 | Cite as

Fatherhood and Delinquency: An Examination of Risk Factors and Offending Patterns Associated with Fatherhood Status among Serious Juvenile Offenders

  • Monique D. Tremblay
  • Jessica E. Sutherland
  • David M. Day
Original Paper


Despite a large body of literature across multiple disciplines on adolescent motherhood, adolescent fathers have been largely absent from empirical research. Previous findings suggest that young men who experience multiple risk factors across a range of life domains have a high likelihood of becoming fathers at an early age, which can negatively impact their developmental trajectories and age-normative transitions (e.g. from school to work). However, little is known about the risk factors for fatherhood among high-risk juvenile offenders; nor is it well understood how fatherhood is related to criminal behavior in this population. The current study investigated risk factors and offending patterns associated with adolescent fatherhood status in a sample of serious juvenile offenders (N = 1170). Consistent with previous studies, fatherhood status was associated with greater risk exposure among serious juvenile offenders. Furthermore, change in fatherhood status was associated with higher levels of overall offending, aggressive offending, income-related offending, and non-drug-related income offending. In light of these findings, we propose that supports and resources are needed to facilitate juvenile offenders in their role as fathers during this time.


Adolescent fathers Teen parenthood Life-course transitions Juvenile offenders Offending behavior 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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