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1 PRESENT AND ABSENT FATHERS IN A JUVENILE DELINQUENT POPULATION: EXAMINING QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES By SARAH TEITELBAUM A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREME NTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Sarah Teitelbaum
3 This thesis is dedicated to my loving family.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I have many people to thank for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout this process: my family, my cohort, especially Engin and Jackeline, and Nate. I also must thank Dr. Herkov for his mentoring and knowledge without which this project wo uld not exist. Thank you all; I will be forever grateful.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTI ON ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 9 2 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 16 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 16 Instruments ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 17 Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI A) ................................ ... 17 Psychological Evaluation Questions ................................ ................................ 18 Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and Wide Range Aptitude Test (WRAT) ................................ ................................ ................... 19 Criminal Histories ................................ ................................ ............................. 19 3 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 21 MMPI A Scales ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 21 WASI and WRAT ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 22 Substance Abus e ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 22 Criminal Histories ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 23 4 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 27 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 37
6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Results of ANOVA for Basic MMPI A Clinical Scales. ................................ ........ 24 3 2 Results of ANOVA for MMPI A Harris Lingoes subscales Pd and Sc. .............. 25 3 3 Results of Chi Square analysis of father relationship group and cannabis use group. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 26
7 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requireme nts for the Degree of Master of Scienc e PRESENT AND ABSENT FATHERS IN A JUVENILE DELINQUENT POPULATION: EXAMINING QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES By Sarah Teitelbaum December 2013 Chair: Michael Herkov Major: Psychology Over one fourth of children in the United States are raised in single parent homes, 84% of whom have mothers as the custodial parent. Research indicates that children from single parent homes are at increased risk for substance use, behavioral problems an d criminal offenses in adolescence compared to their peers raised in two parent homes. However, data also suggest that single parent children fare better when present s tudy seeks to examine the level and quality of the child father relationship on a number of cognitive, psychological and offense characteristics in a sample of juvenile delinquents. A sample of adjudicated, pre incarcerated adolescent offenders was placed into three groups (i.e., Good, Poor, None) based on their self reported relationship with their fathers. Groups were compared on their responses to the MMPI A, WASI, WRAT III, substance use, and offense characteristics (i.e., contact versus noncontact). Results indicate participants who report having no relationship with their fathers scored significantly higher on the MMPI A Pd scale and used marijuana frequently. There were also more likely to commit a violent crime. There were no
8 significant differ ences between groups on and cognitive measures. Implications of these data on public policy and future research are discussed.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION According to the 2009 US Census Bureau Report, 26% of children born in the United States grow up in single parent families. Within that group of 23 million young people, 84% of the custodial parents are mothers, meaning the vast majority of children that grow up in a single parent home have an absent or nonresident father. A breadth of studies have enumerated the effects of an absent father, including having adverse effects on cognitive, moral, and social development as well as having a nega tive impact on peer relations, self concept, self esteem, masculine development and academic achievement (Jones, Kramer, Armitage, & Williams, 2003). In addition, a large body of research has shown living in a two parent family to be a protective factor f or children. For example, Donovan and Molina (2011) found that children with two parents were less likely to initiate early drinking than children in single parent homes. Another study reported that children living in two parent households had lower rate s of smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, and smoking marijuana compared with those living in single parent households (Oman, Vesely, Tolma, Aspy, Rodine, & Marshall, 2007). In the realm of behavioral problems, a longitudinal study by Jansen, Veenstra, Orm el, Verbulst, and Reijneveld (2011) found that young adolescent males from intact two parent families were less likely to be involved in bullying behavior (as either the bully, victim or both). Teachman, Day, Paasch, Carver, and Call (1998) found that chi ldren living in two parent families had higher math and reading abilities and exhibited fewer behavioral problems compared to children living in one parent families. These studies seem to imply some type of protective component in growing up in a two pare nt household.
10 Paquette (2004) found that mothers and fathers have a tendency to interact differently intellectual development and social competence through physical play (i.e. rough and tumble play), whereas mothers promote these skills through verbal express ion and teaching activities. Fathers do more in the way of surprising their children and teaching them to take risks, while mothers give nurturance and care to their children. Furthermore, when fathers are involved in day to day childcare tasks, it is be neficial for children. Radin (1994) found that preschool age children whose fathers were responsible for 40% assessments of cognitive development, had more of a sense of mastery over their envir onments, and exhibited more empathy than those children whose fathers were less involved in these tasks. In addition, higher levels of father involvement in activities with their children, such as eating meals together, going on outings, and helping with homework, are associated with fewer behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and a high level of school performance among children and adolescents (Mosley & is important to note that Biblarz and Stacey (2010) found that research has not identified any gender exclusive parenting abilities (with the partial exception of lactation). In fact, very little about the gender of the parent seems to be distinctly impo rtant. What we can conclude then is that having two parents is better than having only one. Since single
11 parents in the United States are 84% mothers, the present study is focusing on absent fathers. In light of the data on two parent homes and the i mpact fathers can have when present, it is plausible that the absence of a father would be felt in multiple ways absent fathers tend to have more behavioral difficultie s, with boys specifically more likely to develop externalizing behaviors and be less popular among peers (Parke, McDowell, Kim, Killan, Denis, Flyr, & Wild, 2002). There is a strong consensus in the literature that children of divorced single mothers have an increased risk of displaying a variety of adjustment problems compared to children living in nuclear families (e.g. Breivik & Olweus, 2006). Furthermore, overall delinquency in children and adolescents is about 10 15% higher in broken versus intact hom es (Apel & Kaukinen, 2008). Research consistently shows that young people growing up in families without two biological parents are more likely to consider themselves adults than those reared in two biological parent families (Cavanagh, 2008). Sourander, Elonheimo, Niemela, Nuutila, Helenius, and Sillanmaki (2006) found that living in a non intact family at age 8 predicted all types of criminal offenses in late adolescence for a large sample of boys. Multiple studies have shown that children living in si ngle parent families have an approximately doubled risk of engaging in problem behaviors such as antisocial behavior, getting pregnant and dropping out of school (Olweus, 2006). A study by Mandara, Rogers, and Zinbarg (2011) revealed that for young Africa n American men, being raised without the presence of a biological father is a risk factor for marijuana abuse compared with young men raised by both parents.
12 The reasons for the numerous deleterious consequences associated with single parent and father absent homes is complex. Certainly, having a single parent adds multiple stressors to the life of the child and family, and these stressors are often used to explain the increased risk to children living in single parent homes. Amato (2005) notes that ec onomic hardship is a primary issue for single parents. Many struggle to afford basic necessities and often live in rundown and poor neighborhoods. In addition, compared with continuously married parents, single parents are less emotionally supportive of their children, have fewer rules, dispense harsher discipline, are more inconsistent in dispensing discipline, provide less supervision, and engage in more conflict with their children. Research on the impact of family structure on cates that growing up in a single parent family is associated with higher risk for substance abuse, adjustment problems, emotional problems and delinquent behavior (Jablonska & Lindberg, 2007). However, simple divorce or being raised in a single parent home by a mother does not, in and of itself, equate to an absent father. There are circumstances In these cases, the negative impacts of single parenthood may be mediated. Indeed, a meta analysis by Amato and Gilbreth (1999) showed that children had higher academic achievement and fewer emotional and conduct problems when nonresident fathers were closely involved in their lives. These data seem to indicate tha t the role of a father home or associated economic or social stressors, but other factors such as personal involvement and perhaps quality of the relationship.
13 Given t he previously referenced research, it is clear that lack of a consistent father figure is associated with a number of negative outcomes, including behavioral problems and juvenile delinquency. However, it is important to point out that the vast majority o f children from single parent or father absent homes do not become delinquent and many youth in juvenile facilities come from intact, two parent homes. In fact, the complexity of the parent child dynamic and how it predicts delinquency is further illustra ted by the fact that strong evidence exists for a reciprocal relationship between parenting and delinquency (Gault Sherman, 2012). Multiple meta analyses have found that a number of parenting characteristics, such as discipline style and quality of parent adolescent relations, were more predictive of delinquency than parental criminality, poor academic achievement, or socioeconomic status (Gault to engage in delinque nt behavior. Coley and Meideros (2007) found that higher nonresident father involvement predicted subsequent decreases in adolescent delinquency in a population of primarily low income, minority adolescents. Furthermore, while adolescent delinquency did not predict changes in father involvement, the two factors covaried: as adolescent delinquency increased, father involvement increased as well. These findings suggest that even when children reside in a single parent home, having nonresident father involv ement can be a protective factor. That is, while it would be ideal for a child to be raised in an intact two parent home, having a nonresident the child engaging i n risky and/or delinquent behavior.
14 It is abundantly clear that children who do not have a relationship with their fathers are at risk for a multitude of detrimental issues. Still, these correlations do not apply to all children without fathers in the ir lives. Adolescents from intact two parent homes can be found in juvenile detention centers just as adolescents raised by only single mothers can be successful and law abiding citizens. Within each of these groups, though, there exists variation and nu ances that create different experiences in the lives of these young adults. For example, within a group of adolescent juvenile offenders, certain characteristics are the same, i.e. they have all done something to break the law and been convicted of a crim e. Even within this specific cohort, though, there exist a variety of experiences regarding home life and family dynamics. Some of these individuals come from chaotic, abusive homes while some come from stable and loving homes and many come from somethin g in between these two extremes. Do specifically, does the way each individual qualifies his relationship with his father somehow connect to the severity of the crime com mitted, the intelligence or achievement of the adolescent, his likelihood to abuse substances, or his personality disorder score elevations? To date, no research has examined these differences in this specific population. While we know a fair amount abou we do not know much about how these relationships differentiate within a population of juvenile delinquents.
15 The present study seeks to examine the impact of the father relationship within a population of adolescent offenders on a number of cognitive and psychological variables. By controlling for de linquent behavior, this study hopes to help better understand the impact of these parental influences. Specifically, we are seeking to determine how factors such as father presence and child viewed quality of that relationship affect psychological, cognit ive and achievement within this group of delinquents. Based on the literature, we hypothesize that adolescents who report having no relationship or a poor relationship with their father will score higher on the clinical scales of the MMPI A, will be mo re likely to have committed a contact crime, will have lower intellectual and achievement performance, and be more likely to abuse substances than those who report having good relationships with their fathers.
16 CHAPTER 2 METHOD Participants Data from 108 adolescent males (aged 12 17) participants were analyzed in this study. In accordance with Florida Statute 985.18 (Fla. Stat., 2010), prior to being admitted to a juvenile delinquent treatment facility, all individuals under the age of 18 who have committed a crime must undergo a psychological evaluation prior to placement to determine any underlying mental health issues or needs. The information used for this archival analysis was one part of this larger evaluation. Participants in this stud y were adolescents who were evaluated in accordance with the above statute from the Department of Juvenile Justice District 4 catchment area (northeast Florida). All of the youth had been adjudicated guilty of committing their particular offense and were undergoing evaluation prior to placement. The advisor for this research, Dr. Herkov, served as an evaluator in some of these cases. Because this research represents archival research, no informed consent was obtained from any of the adolescents, parents or guardians of the reviewed files. However, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the project was obtained. The files were reviewed and an electronic database was developed that included demographic, offense, symptom and test data. These data d id not include any identifying information and there is no way to link the data set back to the original file. The participants were divided by how they qualified their relationships with their fathers. Forty participants (37.0% of the sample) stated the y had no relationship with their father, thirty one participants (28.7% of the sample) stated their relationships with their fathers were poor, and thirty seven participants (34.3% of the sample) stated their
17 relationship with their fathers were good. Wit hin this sample, fifty six participants (51.9% of the sample) were Caucasian and fifty two participants (48.1% of the sample) were African American. A one way ANOVA was run to determine whether differences exist between groups on ethnicity. No significan t differences emerged between groups (p = .53). Instruments Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI A) For the purposes of identifying personality patterns, we used the adolescent adaptation of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (M MPI A). The normative sample for the MMPI A includes 1,620 adolescents: 805 males and 815 females between 14 and 18 years old (Archer & Krishnamurthy, 2002). The completion of the full form of the MMPI A, comprised of 470 items, determines the 10 original standard scales, as well as validity scales, content scales, Harris Lingoes subscales, supplementary scales, and the PSY 5 (i.e., five factor personality scales). The MMPI A has been found to have psychometric properties much like the original MMPI, with t est retest correlations between .65 and .84, and a standard error of measurement between 4 and 6 T score points (Archer & Krishnamurthy, 2002). The reading level needed for the items is between fifth and seventh grade. Because some of the participants i n the present study completed only the first 350 items of the MMPI A, only these items were analyzed. The entire test was not administered to some youth because some participants had a difficult time completing the entire test. The first 350 items, however can be used to score the basic validity (L, F, K) and clinical scales: Hypochondriases, Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic Deviance, Masculinity/Femininity, Paranoia, Psychasthenia, Schizophrenia, Hypomania,
18 and Social Introversion. It also can be used t o determine the Harris Lingoes Subscales, which are further breakdowns the following basic scales: Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic Deviance, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, and Hypomania. The Harris Lingoes subscales are used as a way to refine and improve on interpretation of the basic scales, as they were constructed by looking at item content and grouping those questions that seemed to express a specific trait (Graham, 2006). These scales provide more detailed information into what types of questions the pa rticipant is endorsing and, thus, can aid in interpretation. Only those subscales that were expected to have differences consistent with our a priori hypotheses were compared between groups. Psychological Evaluation Questions The participants underwent a comprehensive evaluation. In cases where a parent or guardian was present, the youth were also interviewed alone outside the presence of their parents. Each adolescent was asked a multitude of questions, but for the purposes of this study the following q uestions were used: 1. For the purposes of this study, the nine individuals who rated their relationships as average wer e taken out due to the very low number in that category. 2. a) Participants were asked about their use of alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, phencyclidine, sedatives, and other drugs. A new variable was created for frequency of usage for alcohol, amphetamines and cannabis:
19 participants were separated into High Usage (those who use more than once per week) and Low Usage (those who use once per week or less). Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and Wide Range Aptitude Test (WRAT) Cognitive ability was measured using the full four subtest version of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) (Wechsler, 1999). This version of the WASI pr ovides for estimation of Verbal IQ (VIQ), Performance IQ (PIQ), and Full Scale IQ (FSIQ). VIQ score is composed of the Vocabulary and Similarities subtests; PIQ is composed of the Matrix Reasoning and Block Design subtests. The four subtest version of the WASI received a reliability coefficient of .96 for children based on a nationally representative sample. Academic achievement was measured using the WRAT III. The WRAT III is a brief screening measure for achievement that covers reading recognition, sp elling, and arithmetic. Internal consistencies are very high. Median alternate forms reliabilities are above .89, and test retest reliabilities are at least .91. Correlations range from .50 to .70 on the California Achievement Test and Stanford Achievement Test, and .60 to .80 on the California Test of Basic Skills (Wilkinson, 1993) Criminal Histories The criminal histories of the participants were available as part of the legal record background materials provided to the evaluators. Data was used from all past and current charges of each participant, and a variable was created that indicates whether each participant had ever been charged with a contact crime. We defined contact crime as anything that involves contact with another living thing (kidnappi ng, assault, or
20 animal cruelty) and noncontact as any crime that does not involve contact with another living thing (stealing, property damage, or drug possession).
21 CHAPTER 3 RESULTS MMPI A Scales The first set of analyses examined differences between groups on the MMPI A clinical and validity scales. A one way ANOVA was conducted to examine differences between groups based on ratings of father relationship. As illustrated in Table 3 1, of the ten b asic scales of the MMPI A, there were significant differences in mean T score on the Pd scale (Psychopathic deviance) between the three groups, F (2, 105) = 5.400, p = .006. There were no other significant differences between groups. Post hoc comparisons using the Bonferroni test indicated the mean score on Pd for participants with no relationship with their fathers ( M = 60.525, SD = 9.460) was significantly higher th an for participants with a good relationship with their fathers ( M = 54.054, SD = 8.769). However, there was no significant difference between the participants with no relationship with their fathers and participants with a poor relationship with their fa thers ( M = 57.000, SD = 7.312). Another set of one way ANOVA analyses run on the Harris Lingoes subscales are reported in Table 3 2. These scales further break down each basic scale on groups of items pertaining to the same area of functioning. Significa nt differences in means between the three groups were found on the Pd 1 scale (Family discord), F (2, 105) = 7.560, p = .001. A post hoc Bonferroni test showed that participants who had no relationship with their fathers scored significantly higher ( M = 55. 400, SD = 9.524) than participants who had good relationships with their fathers ( M = 48.270, SD = 7.999). Participants who had poor relationships with their fathers ( M = 54.774, SD = 8.461) scored significantly higher than those with good relationships a s
22 well. Significant differences between means were also found on the Sc 1 scale (Social alienation), F (2, 105) = 3.576, p = .031. A post hoc Bonferroni test revealed that participants with no relationship with their fathers scored significantly higher ( M = 52.600, SD = 12.239) than those with good relationships with their fathers ( M = 45.892, SD = 10.282). However, there was no significant difference between the participants with no relationship with their fathers and participants with a poor relationship with their fathers ( M = 50.097, SD = 10.358). WASI and WRAT A one way ANOVA was conducted between the three father relationship groups (None, Poor, and Good) on the three WASI scales: Full Scale IQ (FSIQ), Verbal IQ (VIQ), and Performance IQ (PIQ). No significant differences were found between groups on any of the scales of the WASI. The FSIQ within the sample ranged from 55 (extremely low) to 122 (superior) with a mean of 83.21 (low average). A one way ANOVA was also conducted between the thre e father relationship groups (None, Poor, and Good) on the WRAT Reading, Math, and Spelling achievement scores. No significant differences were found between groups on any of the WRAT scores. Substance Abuse Chi Square analyses were performed between t he three father relationship groups (None, Poor, and Good) with each of the following drugs: alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, phencyclidine, sedatives/hypnotics/anxiolytics, and other. No significant differences were found on any of the drugs between the three father relationship groups.
23 Another Chi Square analysis was performed between the three father emerged here. Three rec oded variables were created to capture whether a participant endorsed Square analysis was performed between the three father relationship groups and the variables created based on fr equency of use. The percentage of participants that were high 2 (2, N = 87) = 7.02, p = .030. Out of the thirty participants who use cannabis and report no relationship with their fathers, twenty 3 3). Criminal Histories A Chi Square analysis was performed to look for differences between the three father relationship groups and the variable that captured whether the participant had ever been convicted of a contact crime. A marginally significant relationship emerged, 2 (2, N = 110) = 5.33, p = .070. Participants who had no relationship with their fathers were more likely to have committed a contact crime.
24 Table 3 1. Results of ANOVA for Basic MMPI A Clinical Scales. Significant differences between father relationship groups were found on the Psychopathic deviance (Pd) scale; participants who reported no relationship with their fathers had significantly higher scores than participants who repor ted having good relationships with their fathers. No other significant differences were found. No Relationship Poor Relationship Good Relationship Scale M SD M SD M SD F Hs 50.775 8.687 53.194 9.343 50.973 11.527 .609 D 55.400 9.475 56.387 8.188 54.811 8.685 .270 Hy 53.450 10.241 54.710 10.486 52.622 9.096 .374 Pd 60.525 9.460 57.000 7.312 54.054 8.769 *5.40 Mf 44.500 8.718 42.967 7.116 42.000 7.771 .966 Pa 53.125 11.303 49.774 10.022 49.297 7.583 1.736 Pt 45.925 11.150 45.387 9.025 45.459 8.507 .034 Sc 50.325 11.768 48.241 10.963 45.811 9.288 1.706 Ma 51.675 11.665 49.097 7.480 51.135 11.550 .554 Si 47.000 8.647 49.645 8.468 47.081 7.147 1.142 Note: = p < .05 Abbreviations: Hy = Hysteria, D = Depression, Hs = Hypochondriases, Pd= Psychopathic Deviance, Mf= Masculinity/Femininity, Pa= Paranoia, Pt= Psychasthenia, Sc= Schizophrenia, Ma= Hypomania, Si= Social Introversion
25 Table 3 2. Results of ANOVA for MMPI A Harris Lingoes subscales Pd and Sc. Significan t differences between father relationship groups were found on the Family Discord subscale (Pd1) and the Social Alienation subscale (Sc1). Participants who reported no relationship with their fathers had significantly higher scores on Pd1 than participant s who reported having good relationships with their fathers and those who reported having poor relationships with their fathers. On the Sc1 subscale, participants who reported no relationship with their fathers had significantly higher scores than those w ho reported having a good relationship. No other significant differences were found. No Relationship Poor Relationship Good Relationship Scale M SD M SD M SD F Pd 1 55.400 9.541 54.774 8.461 48.270 7.999 **7.560 Pd 2 63.275 7.225 59.677 9.918 62.514 8.959 1.613 Pd 3 55.775 10.649 53.355 10.082 56.649 9.699 .933 Pd 4 53.900 11.659 50.194 10.384 51.081 11.216 1.105 Pd 5 52.350 10.050 50.871 9.219 48.432 9.323 1.630 Sc 1 52.600 12.239 50.097 10.358 45.892 10.282 *3.576 Sc 2 50.775 10.342 48.194 7.735 46.432 7.124 2.478 Sc 3 49.175 10.662 47.290 9.737 48.432 10.046 .299 Sc 4 47.600 10.345 46.581 8.358 47.243 8.908 .105 Sc 5 45.925 10.908 44.968 9.218 44.973 9.239 .117 Sc 6 50.450 10.689 50.097 11.291 47.243 10.663 .971 Note: = p < .05, ** = p < .001
26 Table 3 3. Results of Chi Square analysis of father relationship group and cannabis use group. Significantly more of those who report having no relationship with they use marijuana more than once per week. No other significant differences were found. Father Cannabis Use Relationship Low Usage High Usage 2 None 7 23 *7.023 Poor 12 15 Good 17 13 Note: = p < .05
27 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION In summary, participants who have no relationship with their fathers scored significantly higher on the MMPI A Psychopathic deviance (Pd) scale than participants who report good relationships with their fathers. No significant differ ences were found between those who report poor relationships with their fathers and the other two groups: those who report having no relationship with their fathers and those who report good relationships with their fathers. On the Harris Lingoes subscale s of the MMPI A, participants who have no relationship and participants who have poor relationships with their fathers scored significantly higher on the Family discord subscale (Pd 1 ) than participants who have good relationships with their fathers. On th e Social introversion subscale (Sc 1 ) of the MMPI A, participants with no relationship scored significantly higher than participants who report good relationships with their fathers. No significant differences were found between those who report poor relat ionships with their fathers and the other two groups. In terms of cognitive function and achievement testing, no significant differences emerged between groups on either the WASI IQ scores or the WRAT achievement test scores. With regard to substance abuse of the participants who report using cannabis, ant differences found between groups comparing substance abusers to non substance abusers.
28 Finally, marginally significant differences were found between groups when comparing those who have committed a contact crime to those who have not; with those in The population examined here is unique in that it is comprised wholly of adolescents who have already committed a crime. That is, we were not looking at risk of crime commitment but at differences in the type of crime and the cognitive and personality factors that may both have contributed to the commitment of the crime as well as predict the likelihood of these adolescents continuing on a criminal path. In light of this unique sample, these results both confirm the detrimental nature of absent fathers while simultaneously opening the door for further questions on the implications of absent versus present fathers. This study does further illustrate that poor or nonexistent relationship s with one parent (in this case specifically fathers) are detrimental to children in multiple ways. Because we are looking at a population of adjudicated juvenile offenders, the link between a poor or nonexistent paternal relationship and these outcome va riables actually shows that even amongst delinquents single parenthood can predict worse outcomes. Furthermore, the distinction between no relationship and a poor relationship significantly worse off. The father absent adolescents in this sample showed higher elevations on levels of psychopathic deviance, family discord, and social introversio n on the MMPI A. Youth who exhibit elevations on the Psychopathic deviance (Pd) scale tend to be in conflict
29 with either family or authority members in their lives. They are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, and may initially make a good impression but over the long term would reveal that they are egocentric and have little concern for others (Weiner, 2008). Elevations on Pd 1 (family discord) indicate family relations that are marked by conflict, and elevations on Sc 1 (social introversion) indicate alienation from others. This profile may not be especially surprising given that we are describing a group of juvenile delinquents, but it is notable that this group can be further differentiated in terms of risk factors and problematic interpersonal styl es based on their relationship with their fathers. It is rather common for juvenile offenders to be grouped as one entity and referred to as such, and it appears that they are not as homogenous as originally thought. Regarding intelligence and achie vement testing, no significant differences were found between the three father relationship groups. This may be for a number of reasons. It is likely that significant differences in IQ scores would not emerge in a sample of 108 participants. Perhaps wit hin a larger group differences could be seen. It is also possible that there is no relationship between the presence or quality of a Studies have shown low IQ to predi ct delinquency (Siegel, 2006). However, the relationship between IQ and delinquency in general is quite controversial, and there is disagreement as to whether IQ has an indirect influence on delinquency (through poor performance in school which leads to f rustration and in turn criminal behavior) or a feelings) (Siegel, 2006). While we do know that living in a two parent home is a
30 protective factor in terms of achieve ment scores and school performance (e.g. Teachmen et al., 1998), it is possible that the delinquent status of the adolescents in this study overshadowed the parental involvement relationship when it comes to intelligence and achievement testing. Finally, it is possible that being administered an IQ and/or achievement test while being held in a juvenile detention center does not yield A large majority (twenty three out of thirty) cannabis more than once per week. This makes sense in light of the fact that one of the two main aspects of the family environment that appear to be associated with high amounts of drug use amongst children and adolescents is the extent to which the child is exposed to a disadvantaged home environment (i.e. with parental conflict and poor discipline and supervision) (Hall, Degenhardt, & Pa tton, 2008). As previous research large disadvantage across multiple domains. What this current finding illustrates, though, is that even within an already at risk populat ion, it is possible to find higher levels of risk and more intense manifestations of problematic behaviors (i.e. high versus low usage of cannabis). The marginally significant relationship of contact crime to the reported father relationship is another exa mple of a more intense manifestation of criminal behaviors within this population of youth offenders. There is a large difference between committing a crime of vandalism or petty thievery and committing a crime that involves physically hurting another hum an being. Interestingly, when the father relationship
31 as the other, this finding was significant (p < .05). Either way this is an important finding. In fact, in analys is of data from the across the United States, Mackey and s of being violent, but Mackey and Mackey (2008) go so far as to call this relationship causal and not merely correlational. The findings from the present study regarding personality characteristics, intelligence and achievement scores, substance abuse, an d contact crimes as they relate to adolescent offenders relationships with their fathers are significant because they indicate that the affects of a poor or nonexistent paternal relationship are so impactful that they stand out even within a group of juven ile offenders. With these data it can be argued that early interventions with youth from single parent homes are extremely important in an effort to curtail criminal behavior in adolescents. Funding and support for after school programming, easily acce ssible counseling, and other risk targeting interventions may need to be increased. Parents foster relationships, so programming that promotes father child interac tions would be ideal. Anything that engages the father with his child could potentially beneficial, and in cases where this is not a possibility, the availability of programs that offer adult role models to at risk youth may need to be increased as well. Support for both parents and children should be reassessed to determine what is working at what is not.
32 This study does have a number of limitations. Because the parent relationship variable is based on self report from adolescents, there is always a chance that they may not be telling the truth or even just exaggerating. Additionally, we cannot assume the relationship between the father relationship variable and the personality, cognitive, substance use, and crime variables to be causal. The associa tions may be notable, but there is not enough data here to assume cause and effect. Furthermore, this is a rather small sample size, which decreases the power of the statistical analyses. Lastly, because this is an archival study, we are limited in terms of what we can examine from this group because we can no longer contact the participants. Future research may include a large sample size acquired from multiple juvenile detention facilities across the United States to see how pervasive these findings ar father would be important to include in order to get a clearer picture on what is perception and what is reality for these youth. Finally, a longitudinal approach to these data would be quite helpful in assessing the long term affects of the quality of relationship prior to the criminal offense, during the period of the offense, and then at one or more time points during adulthood. It is still unclear what role these relationships would play for these juvenile delinquen ts as they grow older. associatio ns found in the present study may illustrate important points about what an father means the youth is more likely to exhibit personality characteristics consistent
33 with e levated Pd scores, that he is more likely to use marijuana at high rates, and that he may be more likely to commit a contact crime than a youth who reports a poor or average relationship, then it becomes an important issue for counseling psychology and soc iety at large. For counseling psychologists, these findings highlight the importance of parental relationships and lack thereof in the lives of adolescents. This is relevant for therapy with youth and adults as well. Speaking more globally, these associ ations speak to the importance of interventions for at risk youth and awareness of the potential consequences of having or being an absent parent. This study provides yet another piece of evidence that illustrates the positive effects fathers have on thei r children simply by being present in their lives and the negative effects that can occur when fathers are absent.
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37 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sarah Teitelbaum was born in Connecticut and attending primary sc hool there. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in p sy chology with a minor in Jewish h istory and c ivilization from New York University in 2009. Following graduation, she worked as a research coordinator in autism clinical research center. In the fall of 2013, she received her Master of Science degree in psychology from the University of Florida where she is currently a student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program.