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Frontiers in Educational Research, 2020, 3(10); doi: 10.25236/FER.2020.031018.

Parental Control and Adolescents’ Delinquency: The Mediating Role of Deviant Peer Affiliation


Liyan Zhaoa, *, Dongping Lib, Yanhui Wangc, Wenqiang Sund

Corresponding Author:
Liyan Zhao

a School of Education, Chengdu College of Arts and Sciences, Chengdu, Sichuan 610401, China
b School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei 430079, China
c School of Education Science, Jiaying University, Meizhou, Guangdong 514015, China
d School of Educational Science, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui 241000, China
*Corresponding Author


Adolescent delinquency is a serious social problem around the world. Understanding the risk factors associated with adolescent delinquency is an essential precondition of any effective prevention and intervention. This study investigated the unique relationship between different forms of parental control (behavioral control and psychological control) and adolescent delinquency, as well as the mediating role of deviant peer affiliation in the relationship between parental control and adolescent delinquency. Participants were 703 adolescents (mean age = 14.30 years, SD = 1.08) from three middle schools in central China. The Parental Behavioral and Psychological Control Scale, Deviant Peer Affiliation Questionnaire, and Adolescent Delinquency Scale were completed anonymously. By controlling for a series of variables like gender, age, socioeconomic status, and non-focal forms of parental control, it was found that psychological control was positively associated with adolescent delinquency. Moreover, deviant peer affiliation mediated the relationship between psychological control and adolescent delinquency. In contrast, although the association of behavioral control with adolescent delinquency was not significant, behavioral control significantly and negatively predicted deviant peer affiliation, which in turn was associated with adolescent delinquency (i.e. distal mediation). These findings suggest that different forms of parental control have differential associations with adolescent delinquency. Moreover, deviant peer affiliation is an important mediation mechanism underlying these relations. The practical implications of these findings were discussed.


delinquency, deviant peer affiliation, behavioral control, psychological control, adolescents

Cite This Paper

Liyan Zhao, Dongping Li, Yanhui Wang, Wenqiang Sun. Parental Control and Adolescents’ Delinquency: The Mediating Role of Deviant Peer Affiliation. Frontiers in Educational Research (2020) Vol. 3 Issue 10: 81-90. https://doi.org/10.25236/FER.2020.031018.


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