"Reducing Delinquency through Monitoring Justice-System-Involved Male Adolescents: Whose Monitoring Matters?"
Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Biennial Meeting
April 12-14, 2018
Presentation Title: "Reducing Delinquency through Monitoring Justice-System-Involved Male Adolescents: Whose Monitoring Matters?" (paper)
Authors: Adam Fine, Paul Frick (LSU), Laurence Steinberg (Temple University), Elizabeth Cauffman
There are well-documented links between parental and teacher monitoring on adolescent delinquency. Youth who are monitored more closely by their parents or teachers tend to engage in less delinquency. However, it is less understood how these processes occur among adolescents who have been arrested and are serving out their sanctions in the community. That is, for youth who are involved in the justice system but who are still living at home and attending school, do both teacher and parental monitoring reduce subsequent delinquency involvement or is focusing on one more effective? Further, does the effect of each type – or combination of types – of parental and teacher monitoring vary developmentally based on the adolescent’s age?
To address this question, we use data from the Crossroads study; a longitudinal investigation of 1,216 adolescents male (ages 13-17) who had been arrested for the first time. Scales assessing youths’ individualized perceptions of parental and teacher monitoring were developed for the Crossroads study (based on Gibbs, 1991). The same items were used for both parental and teacher monitoring. We assessed baseline self-reported crime involvement as well as crime involvement over the following one year. Retention was excellent, as 95.97% of youth had complete data. As a result, this study comprehensively examined subsequent delinquency even after accounting for prior behavior.
Teacher and parental monitoring were significantly correlated, though the correlation was small (r = .25, p < .001) indicating that they share a mere 6% of variance. Because delinquency was a count variable that assessed the variety of crimes committed by the youth, all analyses were negative binomial regressions. Models accounted for prior crime, age, and race. The first model indicated that more teacher monitoring, but not parent monitoring, was associated with less delinquency. The second model, however, indicated that the interaction between teacher and parent monitoring was significant (IRR = .77, SE = .07, p = .002, 95% CI = .66, .91). Post-hoc analyses indicated that teacher monitoring was particularly influential among youth whose parents monitored them an average or above-average amount. However, teacher monitoring was ineffective among youth who felt less monitored by their parents. Finally, the three-way interaction between teacher monitoring, parental monitoring, and age was not significant, indicating that the process appears consistent across this adolescent period.
These results indicate that both parental monitoring and teacher monitoring are critically important. Among this sample of justice-system-involved male adolescents, they appear to be largely unrelated processes, sharing only 6% of variance. However, their effects should not be considered independently. Among adolescents least monitored by their parents, teacher monitoring appears unrelated to delinquency involvement. For these youth, then parental monitoring is essential. However, for the majority of youth, leveraging teachers as monitoring agents appears critically important to reducing adolescent delinquency even among those who are already involved in the system. Importantly, the process appears be consistent across this adolescent age range (ages 13-17).