The Effect of Family Solidarity on Female Juvenile Delinquency: An Exploratory Study
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The Problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects, if any, and extent of influence of family solidarity on the delinquent acts of female juveniles in Polk County, Iowa. Procedure. A longitudinal sample, consisting of 100 cases from the records found in the Polk County Juvenile Court, was the basis for compiling data. Basically these consisted of a family record sheet and a social summary and investigation for each respective individual. For the most recent thirty (30) cases personal interviews were also conducted to obtain a more subjective view of the adolescent's feelings and opinions. In addition the San Francisco list of offense categories in 1960 and 1964 for Police and Juvenile Court use was also utilized, as was the Two Factor Index of Social Position as created by August B. Hollingshead. In determining the influence and/or significance of the family on juvenile delinquency, separate charts were devised based on the following criteria: race, the crime or offense reported, family organization, income of the head of household, and family solidarity. Findings. An analysis of the data revealed a significant trend toward broken or disbanded families and an even more significant emphasis on unstable homes, whether in a one or two parent home. Conclusions and recommendations. One of the major conclusions in this study is that the traditional and oft-maligned family group is of primary influence in the frequent patterns of female juvenile delinquency. A further conclusion is that the unstable family, whether consisting of one or two parents is the most destructive obstacle toward breaking a delinquent pattern. Future studies might be helpful to determine if this trend is continuing and if so, how to counteract it to the best interest of society.
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