- A meta-analysis of attachment to parents and delinquency
- Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
To investigate the link between attachment to parents and delinquency, and the potential moderating effects of age and sex, 74 published and unpublished manuscripts (N = 55,537 participants) were subjected to a multilevel meta-analysis. A mean small to moderate effect size was found (r = 0.18). Poor attachment to parents was significantly linked to delinquency in boys and girls. Stronger effect sizes were found for attachment to mothers than attachment to fathers. In addition, stronger effect sizes were found if the child and the parent had the same sex compared to cross-sex pairs of children and parents. Age of the participants moderated the link between attachment and delinquency: larger effect sizes were found in younger than in older participants. It can be concluded that attachment is associated with juvenile delinquency. Attachment could therefore be a target for intervention to reduce or prevent future delinquent behavior in juveniles.
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