Don't trust anyone over 30: Parental legitimacy as a mediator between parenting style and changes in delinquent behavior over time

Rick Trinkner, Ellen S. Cohn, Cesar J. Rebellon, Karen Van Gundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both law and society scholars and developmental psychologists have focused on the legitimacy of authority figures, although in different domains (police versus parents). The purpose of the current research is to bridge these two fields by examining the relations among parenting style (i.e., authoritarian, authoritative, permissive), the perception of parental legitimacy, and changes in delinquency over time. It is hypothesized that parental legitimacy mediates the relation between parenting style and future delinquent behavior. Middle school and high school students completed questionnaires three times over a period of 18 months. Parenting style and delinquent behavior were measured at time 1, parental legitimacy at time 2, and delinquency again at time 3. The results show that authoritative parenting was positively related to parental legitimacy, while authoritarian parenting was negatively associated with parental legitimacy. Furthermore, parental legitimacy was negatively associated with future delinquency. Structural equation modeling indicated that parental legitimacy mediated the relation between parenting styles and changes in delinquency over the 18-month time period. The implications for parenting style and parental legitimacy affecting delinquent behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Delinquency
  • Mediation
  • Parental legitimacy
  • Parenting styles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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