Bidirectional links and concurrent development of parent-child relationships and boys' offending behavior

Loes Keijsers, Rolf Loeber, Susan Branje, Wim Meeus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined different types of longitudinal associations (i.e., directional links and overlapping developmental changes) between children's delinquency and the quality of parent-child relationships from middle childhood to late adolescence. We used 10-wave interview data of 503 boys, their primary caregivers, and their teachers. Our first aim was to unravel the direction of effects between parent-child relationships and children's offending. Cross-lagged panel models revealed bidirectional links over time between poorer quality parent-child relationships and boys' offending across late childhood (age 7-10), early adolescence (age 10-13) and middle adolescence (age 13-16). Second, we examined the associations between mean changes in delinquency, on the one hand, and mean changes in relationship quality, on the other hand. Although parent-child relationships improved during childhood, their quality decreased in early adolescence and remained stable in middle adolescence. Delinquency increased only in middle adolescence. In five out of six models, the slope factors of relationship quality and offending were strongly correlated, indicating that stronger increases in delinquency were associated with stronger decreases in parent-child relationship quality across childhood, early adolescence, and middle adolescence. The discussion focuses on the theoretical implications of these two types of longitudinal associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-889
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development
  • African Americans
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Communication
  • Crime/statistics & numerical data
  • Disclosure
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency/psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting/psychology
  • Social Behavior Disorders/psychology
  • Socialization
  • Statistics as Topic

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