COLLECTIVE EFFICACY, AUTHORITATIVE PARENTING AND DELINQUENCY: A LONGITUDINAL TEST OF A MODEL INTEGRATING COMMUNITY-AND FAMILY-LEVEL PROCESSES*

Authors

  • RONALD L. SIMONS,

    1. Distinguished professor of research in the Department of Sociology and research fellow in the Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on the manner in which community factors, family interaction, and peer processes combine to influence psychological adjustment and antisocial behavior across the life course
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  • LESLIE GORDON SIMONS,

    1. Assistant professor of child and family development at the University of Georgia. Her research investigates the effect of family structure, parenting practices, community processes, and religion on adolescent outcomes such as conduct problems, risky sex, and depression
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  • CALLIE HARBIN BURT,

    1. Doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on issues relating to criminological theory, female delinquency, rape, and links between family processes and crime
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  • GENE H. BRODY,

    1. Regents Professor in the Department of Child and Family Development and Director of the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia. His research is concerned with the impact of family and community processes on the development of externalizing and internalizing problems in children and adolescents
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  • CAROLYN CUTRONA

    1. Professor of psychology and director of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at Iowa State University. Her research examines the way in which life stress, community factors, and family social support processes combine to influence psychological adjustment, marital satisfaction, and divorce.
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  • *

    This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH48165, MH62669) and the Center for Disease Control (029136-02). Additional funding for this project was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station (Project #3320). Direct all correspondence to Dr. Ronald Simons, Department of Sociology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602; email: rsimons@uga.edu.

Abstract

In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses on how authoritative parenting and collective efficacy combine to increase a child's risk of affiliating with deviant peers and engaging in delinquent behavior. Analyses using two waves of data from a sample of several hundred African American caregivers and their children largely supported the predictions. Over time, increases in collective efficacy within a community were associated with increases in authoritative parenting. Further, both authoritative parenting and collective efficacy served to deter affiliation with deviant peers and involvement in delinquent behavior. Finally, there was evidence of an amplification process whereby the deterrent effect of authoritative parenting on affiliation with deviant peers and delinquency was enhanced when it was administered within a community with high collective efficacy.

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