Date of Award

7-22-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Jamie S. Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen J. Hanrahan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer J. Roberts, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

John A. Lewis, Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study sought to examine the relationship between perceived parenting styles and level of criminal involvement. Baumrind's typology of parenting styles is based on research conducted approximately 40 years ago (Baumrind, 1967, 1971, 1972; Baumrind & Black, 1967). Despite its longevity in the social sciences, the typology has enjoyed limited empiricism in the field of criminology. Four parenting styles form the crux of Baumrind's typology. These four styles: authoritarian, authoritative, neglecting/rejecting, and permissive parenting are defined by the level of demandingness and responsiveness that parents display. This study provided an in-depth examination of demandingness, responsiveness, and the four parenting styles that their convergence creates. Prior empirical research examining the effects that parents' parenting styles have on their children is assessed. A methodology was devised that allowed the researcher to study the perceptions of parenting styles and the impact that they had on subsequent deviant, delinquent, and criminal involvement among two different samples - county jails inmates and university students. University students were randomly selected to participate, were contacted via university email, and were asked to complete an online survey. A convenience sample of jail inmates was asked to complete a paper copy of the same survey. The results from this study suggest that the permissive parenting style is the least problematic and that those parented by permissive parents are less likely to engage in acts of deviance, delinquency, and crime. Not surprisingly, respondents parented by neglecting/rejecting parents were more likely to report engagement in deviant, delinquent, and criminal acts. Meanwhile, the authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles predicted very few behaviors. No matter one's distinction (college student or county jail inmate; female or male; non-white or white), the style by which one was parented is predictive of behavior.

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