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The sins of the child: Public opinion about parental responsibility for juvenile crime

Aizpurúa, E. ORCID: 0000-0001-7045-5535, Applegate, B. K., Bolin, R. M. , Vuk, M. & Ouellette, H. M. (2020). The sins of the child: Public opinion about parental responsibility for juvenile crime. Children and Youth Services Review, 114, 105023. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105023


Previous research indicates that people ascribe less responsibility to juvenile offenders than adult offenders for the crimes they have committed. Although assignment of responsibility to parents varies depending upon the youth’s age, we know little about the role of other factors. The current study used randomized factorial vignettes to examine whether the seriousness of the offense, peer involvement, and the offender's race, age, sex, and prior record influence support for parental responsibility. We found that participants in our study placed substantial responsibility on parents for dealing with juvenile offenders; however, support for punishing the parents was low, while the importance attached to enrolling parents in training was high. Views on parental responsibility were influenced by the age of the juvenile and the seriousness of the offense. The implications of these findings and how they fit in with previous work are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Vicarious responsibility, Parental responsibility laws, Juvenile delinquency, Public opinion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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