Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminology and Criminal Justice


The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the impact of different family factors on juvenile delinquency. Specifically, this thesis examined parental monitoring, attachment to parents, and family structure by investigating their single and combined effects on delinquency. In addition, the current study addresses the effects family factors have on different levels of delinquent behavior. Four hypotheses were tested. The first one, suggests that children living in single-parent homes will exhibit higher levels of self reported delinquency than those in two-parent families. The second states that attachment to both mothers and fathers will have an impact on delinquency. The third proposes that high levels of parental monitoring will lead to lower levels of self-reported delinquency. The final hypothesis involves a combined model, including attachment and monitoring as a better predictor of delinquency than family status. Data was collected from a sample of 5,935 eighth-grade students attending public schools in eleven different sites across the country, during the spring of 1995. Results of regression analysis strongly supported three hypotheses and yielded limited support to the fourth. Specifically, children from single-parent homes reported higher levels of self-reported delinquency than did children from two-parent homes. Moreover, strong attachments and high parental monitoring revealed lower levels of delinquency. In addition, a model containing both parental attachments and monitoring was a better predictor of delinquency than family status alone. However, the significance of single parent families did not drop significantly with the addition of the new variables. The discussion provides possible explanations for the family differences that were found. The present study reemphasizes the need to examine the combined impact of family factors on delinquent behavior.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Criminal Justice and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Jessie L. Krienert June, 1996