How Do Families Matter? Age and Gender Differences in Family Influences on Delinquency and Drug Use

Youth Violence Juv Justice. 2011 Apr;9(2):150-170. doi: 10.1177/1541204010377748.


Parenting practices, age, and gender all influence adolescent delinquency and drug use, but few studies have examined how these factors interact to affect offending. Using data from 18,512 students in Grades 6, 8, 10 and 12, this study found that across grades, parents treated girls and boys differently, but neither sex received preferential treatment for all practices assessed, and younger children reported more positive parenting than older students. Family factors were significantly related to delinquency and drug use for both sexes and for all grades. However, particular parenting practices showed gender and age differences in the degree to which they were related to outcomes, which indicates complexities in parent/child interactions that must be taken into account when investigating the causes of adolescent offending and when planning strategies to prevent the development of problem behaviors.