Family Factors and Delinquency: A Brief International Review of the Longitudinal Research

Leonidas Cheliotis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In Greece, police-recorded data reveal that, unlike what is commonly suggested by the national media and populist politicians, at times proposed by scholarly research, and often believed amongst the public, youth involvement in delinquent and criminal acts has neither grown in numerical terms nor has it become more violent over the last three decades. This notwithstanding, recent years have seen the expansion of pertinent research, increasingly including focus on such themes as school bullying and gang involvement. At the same time, despite the continuing centrality of the family in Greek society, its role –whether in causing or preventing delinquency– appears to have been largely overlooked. This commentary therefore aims to provide a critical excursus to the ways in which international criminological research accounts for the importance of family factors in the aetiology of delinquent conduct. More specifically, the discussion addresses three categories of variables that are considered to be amongst the strongest family predictors of juvenile offending: criminal and antisocial parents and siblings; large family size; and child-rearing methods (poor supervision, poor discipline, coldness and rejection, and low parental involvement). Each category is reviewed with reference to the major relevant studies (especially longitudinal studies) and their primary theoretical explanations. The commentary concludes with an overall assessment of the significance of the family factors under scrutiny in effecting delinquency, also sketching some research questions that consequently emerge for the Greek case.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime and Punishment in Contemporary Greece
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Comparative Perspectives
EditorsLeonidas Cheliotis, Sappho Xenakis
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9783039115624
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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