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Prediction of delinquency: the role of depression, risk-taking, and parental attachment
journal contributionposted on 2000-01-01, 00:00 authored by L Leas, David MellorDavid Mellor
This study investigated the relative contributions of risk-taking behaviour (RTB), parental attachment, and depression to delinquency. Data were gathered from 108 university students and youth group members, aged between 17 and 23 years (M = 19 years). Each participant completed four self-report questionnaires: the Australian Self-report Delinquency Scale, the Adolescent Risk-taking Questionnaire, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, and the Beck Depression Inventory. The three predictor variables were significantly related to each other, and risk-taking behaviour and depression uniquely predicted total delinquency. While parent attachment was not a significant predictor of delinquency, when the subscales of parent attachment were assessed individually, parental trust and communication inversely predicted delinquent behaviour. Although based on a nondeviant sample, the findings suggest that adolescents who display poor parent attachment, depression, or high risk-taking behaviour, singularly or in combination, are more prone to engage in delinquent behaviour. The results hold a number of potentially important implications for both further studies and the design and provision of intervention and preventative programs.