All Parents Are to Blame (Except This One): Global Versus Specific Attitudes Related to Parental Responsibility Laws


  • 1The authors thank Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, Marc Pearce, Cassandra Volanges and Kevin O'Neil for their contributions to this research.


Increasing state legislation and media interest give the appearance of public support for parental responsibility laws; however, some national polls suggest otherwise. Based on disparate global and specific attitudes in other areas of the criminal justice literature, it was hypothesized that relatively weak global support for parental responsibility would be diminished even more if a specific juvenile was described. The current studies confirmed that participants were even less supportive of parental responsibility laws when a specific juvenile and his parents were described than they were when they answered questions about parents in general.