A Correlation Between Fatherhood and Juvenile Delinquency

This article aims to show how juvenile delinquency can be correlated with father involvement or lack thereof. There does in fact appear to be a negative correlation with juvenile delinquency and fathers who are involved. Meaning that as fathers become more involved juvenile delinquency becomes less likely, as will be shown through my many sources below.

This topic was chosen by me because of its significance in my own personal life. I am struggling to get paternity established with my son, and this topic has provided me with many reasons to continue my efforts, despite my hostile ex. Through this research I find even more importance in establishing a healthy relationship with my ex, and our child, as well as renewed energy to continue my efforts to that end.

My report and findings

This report is based off of a multitude of other reports with the ultimate goal of showing the relationship between healthy father-child relationships and diminishing juvenile delinquency. According to Alvin W. Cohn, in the span of 10 years prior to 2001, based on census reports, infant fatalities had seen a significant decrease and general living conditions for juveniles had seen a significant increase.

Cohn also noted an increase in single father homes, which may suggest a positive correlation between single fathers and positive child welfare. Cohn’s research also noted an increase in parental quality time amongst two parent homes. When both parents are involved and remain together, both parents get more time with the children. This conclusion is further noted by Alan Booth, Mindy E. Scott, and Valerie King. In their article titled, ”¹…”Father Residence and Adolescent Behavior’ these authors found a positive correlation between high self-esteems, and children who have solid relationships with their fathers.

Fathers who live in the home are not always responsive to their children’s needs and according to the research in this article this leads to low self-esteem. Likewise, Fathers who are non-residents of their children’s homes can also be unresponsive to their children’s needs. However, of these two possibilities the first appears to have less correlation to low self-esteem than the latter.

The best situation according to their research is when the father is both responsive and lives with the child. This situation is not always a possibility however, and in the case that the parents cannot live together, it is important for the father to have significant contact and bonding time with the child to prevent juvenile delinquency and low self-esteem.

These findings are further perpetuated by the article “Fathering in Family Context and Child Adjustment: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Juvenile delinquency has often been attributed to feelings of inadequacy caused in the home such as, an unloving family may cause a child to seek nurture from a new family such as a gang, and there is significance in the state of mind of an adolescent or juvenile in delinquency.

Though the significance of the findings in this report are not as great as those directly pertaining to juvenile delinquency, the effects of fathering on the mental state of a child or their emotional security can be correlated to the child’s delinquency. As such it is important to note that an unhealthy relationship with the father may not be in the best interest of a child, in comparison to having no relationship with the father.

However, so long as the father is willing and able to maintain a healthy relationship, this paternal bonding should not be interfered with. It is apparent at this point that fathers play an important role in their child’s psychosocial development and provide role models, in particular for young males. Emotional insecurities or internalizing problems can quickly lead to adjustment problems in society causing the after effect of juvenile delinquency.

This research suggests that fathers do in fact play an important role in their child’s psychological and social development. Without fathers children tend to develop insecure attachments to their mothers and are less likely to explore the world which is an important aspect of a child’s psychological development. Furthermore, a lack of trust in your father can lead to later trust issues and anti-social behaviors. There have also been correlations found which suggest that emotional insecurity is correlated to adolescents who join gangs.

Broad statements have been made by media companies such as the Michigan Times and CNN, however, I find that these statements ring true via my own research and conclusions reported by psychologist run research studies. One particular broad form statement is that fatherhood involvement in fact diminishes juvenile delinquency. Thompson Bankole of the Michigan Times June 13, 2007, said “The pain of father absenteeism can have sharp-toothed implications on the life of a growing child.” It is also said that “Chronic father absence in the lives of children has been linked to low educational achievement, juvenile delinquency and early pregnancy among teenagers, to name a few.” Thus far my research tends to agree with his conclusion.

Juvenile delinquency is a big problem because as children grow to be adults the behaviors they learn as adolescence can contribute to later issues in their lives as young adults. In another article directed at the importance of father child relations Mike say’s “The benefits that divorced or separated fathers can provide their children are substantial. For example, a recent study of low-income African-American and Hispanic families by Boston College found that when nonresident fathers are involved in their adolescent children’s lives, the incidence of substance abuse, violence, crime, and truancy decreases markedly.”

The conclusion seems obvious with every study conducted on this agreeing that fathers are important to their children’s psychosocial and even cognitive development. In general it appears that mothers are capable of providing empathy, caring, physical contact, and fathers are more capable of providing independence, exploration, and challenging environments which promote cognitive development. Both are necessary to children from their infant stages all the way through to young adulthood.

Annotated bibliography:

By: Cohn, Alvin W., Federal Probation, 00149128, Dec2001, Vol. 65, Issue 3


Cohn, Alvin W. takes a look at the many factors relating to juvenile delinquency using the 2000 Census as his primary source. Of these factors which are present, the ones of primary interest to me are the role of single fathers and its increase over the last few decades, and of parental quality time. Both of these numbers show that involved fathers help prevent juvenile delinquency. Dr. Alvin W. Cohn is a recognized expert on national standards of care for adult and juvenile jails, prisons, detention centers, and community-based corrections and has first-hand knowledge of the juveniles and their situations. This article appears to have a target audience of social service workers and DOC heads rather than the general public. Cohn’s article is important to my research because it shows that fathers and mothers who are cooperative both get more parental quality time. I do not sense any bias in this article; however, single father households’ parental time was not looked at within its context.

By : Alan Booth, Mindy E. Scott, and Valarie King


In studies conducted on varying household types with the emphasis being on correlation between “problem behaviors” or juvenile delinquency, Alan Booth, Mindy E. Scott, and Valarie King, write on the effects of two parent families. The research information this report is based off of comes from the ”¹…” National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health’ and suggests correlation between fathers who are involved and adolescents with higher self-esteem . Alan Booth and Valarie King both hold PH.D. in Sociology and Mindy E. Scott is an employee of the childhood trends facility. Their findings come with high esteem due to educational background. The information in this report appears to be written towards a target audience of scholars, students, and other people interested in psychology in general. This resource is extremely useful because it indicates such a strong correlation and has many research angles directed at both resident and non-resident fathers and their impact on the children they rear. I do not sense any presence of bias in this article and due in part to it having multiple contributors/authors I would not expect to see as much bias as an article written by one person alone.

By: Thompson, Bankole, Michigan Times June 13, 2007

Fathers, step up

This article details the community activities taking place at Morehouse College in Atlanta. The specifics of the activities are not what interest me however, it is the context in which these activities were deemed necessary. Thompson Bankole notes that “Seven out of every ten Black children born in America are born outside of marriage and 60 percent of them will grow with little or no consistent father present in their lives.” It is also said that “Chronic father absence in the lives of children has been linked to low educational achievement, juvenile delinquency and early pregnancy among teenagers, to name a few.” The statements made in this publication remain consistent with my research on fatherhood involvement and diminished juvenile delinquency, making its importance to my research significant. Thompson Bankole, while not a psychologist is a data research analyst for CNN giving him reasonable credibility in my opinion, though his numbers could be double checked it is likely that he has done his homework prior to making these statements. Thompson was likely targeting an audience of mothers who unwittingly harm the paternal relationship between father and child and fathers who choose not to be involved speaking in layman’s terms so as to reach the uneducated or under educated. Though I do not sense any particular bias in this report, the source is coming from a fatherhood program which will obviously have a bias towards father’s involvement.

By: Mike Mccormick the Buffalo News, 6/30/07

Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood Bill–Not Enough Carrot, Too Much Stick

Although this article doesn’t have a whole lot of useful information it carries some bold statements and statistics observed by Mike Mccormick of the ACFC (American Coalition For Fathers and Children) The generalized statement as would be expected of someone from the ACFC is that fathers are underprivileged considering the importance of the roles they play in their children’s lives. Mike McCormick makes yet another correlation to fatherlessness, and juvenile delinquency, but goes on to state that the legal system is failing to do its part in providing the proper means for fathers to take their roles when the mothers do not wish to cooperate. Mike Mccormick has been interviewed extensively by the media regarding shared parenting and has authored shared parenting bills and initiatives have been introduced in several states . While Mike doesn’t appear to have any psychological background he does have extensive experience in community driven programs. The statements Mike has made in this and many other articles further convey the importance of fathers in preventing juvenile delinquency. This article as well as many of Mike’s other articles is targeted at a generalized audience in an attempt to get the word out about the importance of involved fathers. I expect a certain degree of bias from the executive director of a coalition for fathers; however, his statements continue to be consistent with the research logs I have reviewed.

By: Mike Mccormick and Glenn Sacks

Protect Fathers’ Loving Bonds with Their Children

Once again Mike Mccormick references studies on fatherlessness and juvenile delinquency. This time in 2008 he states “The benefits that divorced or separated fathers can provide their children are substantial. For example, a recent study of low-income African-American and Hispanic families by Boston College found that when nonresident fathers are involved in their adolescent children’s lives, the incidence of substance abuse, violence, crime, and truancy decreases markedly.” As usual Mike’s statements continue to be useful in identifying research into this cause of juvenile delinquency and provide an easy basis for fact checking, while continuing to be consistent with the results of studies I have found throughout the course of this article. Mikes articles are typically directed at a generalized audience with the intent to inspire fathers to be more involved and mother to let them be more involved, but are also jointly directed at legal authorities for the purpose of changing legislature. While approximately 30% of this text is directed at the legalities of the issue there are solid references within its context which I can utilize in my research. I detect as much bias as usual, however, despite an obvious bias; the research supports Mike’s conclusions.

By: Patricia M. Schacht; E. Mark Cummings; Patrick T. Davies. J Fam Psychol.

Fathering in Family Context and Child Adjustment: A Longitudinal Analysis

This study is focused on relations between father’s behavior in a family context and children’s adjustments to the behaviors, including paternal depressive symptoms, paternal marital conduct, children’s emotional security, and parenting. Participants in this study included 235 families with a six year old child with the families being followed each for three years longitudinally. This study concludes that paternal problem drinking is correlated positively with marital conflict and diminished positive parenting. Also concluded was that depressive symptoms were related with children’s internalizing problems. The child’s emotional security was an intervening variable in relation between the father’s behavior and the child’s development. The authors involved with writing the article and the contributors were all trained psychologists or otherwise certified to conduct such research, and as such they carry significant authority on the matters at hand. This article was most likely written with other scholars in mind and not a generalized audience. This article is important to my research as it indicates the effects that fathers have on their offspring and the context in which these effects can take place. I do not sense any particular amount of bias in this article and it appears to be written from a scientific perspective on a professionally conducted research survey. Though the groups chosen for research where chosen by controlled factors, this is consistent with the type of research being conducted.