Mothers’ Work and Family Roles, Gender Ideologies, Distress, and Parenting

Consequences for Juvenile Delinquency


Direct all correspondence to Stacy De Coster, Department of Sociology, North Carolina State University, Box 8107, Raleigh, NC 27605; e-mail:


This article develops a theoretical model that links the gendered ideologies and work and family roles of mothers to juvenile delinquency. I test the model using the National Survey of Children and covariance structure analysis. The results demonstrate that adolescents of mothers who are employed and hold nontraditional ideologies, as well as those whose mothers are homemakers and hold traditional ideologies, are less likely than others to be delinquent. This is because their mothers are not susceptible to distress, enabling them to foster emotional bonds with their children. Emotional bonds ultimately protect youths from delinquent peer associations and delinquency.