The relationship between parenting and delinquency: a meta-analysis

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2009 Aug;37(6):749-75. doi: 10.1007/s10802-009-9310-8.


This meta-analysis of 161 published and unpublished manuscripts was conducted to determine whether the association between parenting and delinquency exists and what the magnitude of this linkage is. The strongest links were found for parental monitoring, psychological control, and negative aspects of support such as rejection and hostility, accounting for up to 11% of the variance in delinquency. Several effect sizes were moderated by parent and child gender, child age, informant on parenting, and delinquency type, indicating that some parenting behaviors are more important for particular contexts or subsamples. Although both dimensions of warmth and support seem to be important, surprisingly very few studies focused on parenting styles. Furthermore, fewer than 20% of the studies focused on parenting behavior of fathers, despite the fact that the effect of poor support by fathers was larger than poor maternal support, particularly for sons. Implications for theory and parenting are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Authoritarianism
  • Child
  • Child Rearing / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Support
  • Young Adult