Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 227–241 | Cite as

Relationship Dynamics, Gender, and Criminal Offending in Fragile Families

Original Article


Using data collected from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this study investigated the links between intimate partners’ relationship dynamics and criminal offending in “fragile families.” We assessed the mechanisms underlying relationships among parents with young children from the perspective of three dominant theories in the field of criminology (i.e., strain, social control/bonding, and social learning theories), as well as the potential moderating effects of gender. In this study, criminal offending is operationalized as whether the respondents have been formally “booked or charged with breaking a law” since the last data collection period. Overall, our study lends some support for all three theories, but we found little evidence that the relationships among our substantive predictor variables and formal contact with the criminal justice system differed by gender.


Relationship dynamics Fragile families Gender Criminal offending 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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