The Protective Effects of Family Support on the Relationship Between Official Intervention and General Delinquency Across the Life Course

Article

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research on the labeling perspective has identified mediational processes and the long-term effects of official intervention in the life course. However, it is not yet clear what factors may moderate the relationship between labeling and subsequent offending. The current study integrates Cullen’s (Justice Q 11:527–559, 1994) social support theory to examine how family social support conditions the criminogenic, stigmatizing effects of official intervention on delinquency and whether such protective effects vary by developmental stage.

Methods

Using longitudinal data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, we estimated negative binomial regression models to investigate the relationships between police arrest, family social support, and criminal offending during both adolescence and young adulthood.

Results

Police arrest is a significant predictor of self-reported delinquency in both the adolescent and adult models. Expressive family support exhibits main effects in the adolescent models; instrumental family support exhibits main effects at both developmental stages. Additionally, instrumental family support diminishes some of the predicted adverse effects of official intervention in adulthood.

Conclusions

Perception of family support can be critical in reducing general delinquency as well as buffering against the adverse effects of official intervention on subsequent offending. Policies and programs that work with families subsequent to a criminal justice intervention should emphasize the importance of providing a supportive environment for those who are labeled.

Keywords

Labeling theory Official intervention Social support Life course Moderation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Criminology & LawUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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