Thursday, February 4, 2016

Comparison of Family Power Structure and Identity Style Between Delinquent and Non-Delinquent Juveniles - Iran

Adolescence denotes a time in which youth begins to experience dangerous behaviors like substance use and delinquency.

In this study, we investigated the family power structure and identity style in delinquent and non-delinquent juveniles residing in Tehran, Iran.

Materials and Methods:
To accomplish the goal of the study, 80 adolescent delinquents of the correction and rehabilitation centers aged between 15 and 18 years were selected with convenience sampling method and 80 students of secondary school age between 15 and 18 years in Tehran, Iran in 2012. They answered the instrument of family power structure (Saidian, 2004) and identity style (ISI-6G: White et al. 1998). The obtained data were analyzed using the independent t-test, chi-square test, and Levene’s test.

The findings indicated a significant difference between delinquent and non-delinquent juveniles with regard to family power structure, its subscales (P < 0.001), and identity style (P < 0.001). Moreover, the informational identity style was associated with lower levels of delinquency. In addition, a diffuse-evident identity style was related to the delinquency.

These results emphasize that the inappropriate decision-making process pattern in a family has a significant effect on deviant behavior and identity style in adolescents. So, family power structure can be considered in therapeutic interventions (prevention and treatment) for adolescent delinquency.

...Results revealed that there are significant differences between delinquent and non-delinquent juveniles with regard to the family power structure. The results of the current study are comparable to previous findings which have been done in this field. For example, Wentzel and Feldman () compared the global ratings of family cohesion and family power structure to adolescent behaviors and found that adolescents who rated their parents as egalitarian were most likely to report low levels of depression and high levels of social self-concept and self-restraint. Beavers () showed that the power structure of the delinquent juvenile family is anarchy because only one of their parents controls the whole power (). This power of family structure leads to the unknown boundary of their family system (). In a detailed review, the previous study shows that child behavior problems are related to lack of parental support and control (), an imbalanced parent-child relationship (,), lack of cohesion and structure in the family (-), and poor quality of communication between parents and children (, ). Similarly, the previous study has concluded that the families of violent adolescents have high rates of abuse, neglect, aversive behavior and parental deviance and low rates of positive communication (). Further study showed that adolescents originating from two-parent households are less inclined to engage in delinquent behavior than those originating from one-parent families (, ).

These findings suggest that family structure is a significant predictor of most self-reported delinquent behaviors. Based on family systematic perception, family structure was related to breaking and entering, cannabis use, fighting, theft, vandalism, and weapons possession (). The results of the current study reveal that identity style has a significant difference between delinquent and non-delinquent juveniles. It also showed that adolescents who utilize a normative identity style (relying on social convention and norms to regulate their behaviors) are nearly identical in both groups. Also the informational identity style associates with lower levels of delinquency and a diffuse-evident identity style relates to the delinquency. The prior research indicated that use of the informational and normative styles was negatively linked to delinquency (, ). In other words, an information-oriented style relates to a more adaptive pattern of interpersonal behaviors (, ). In addition, endorsement of social norms and conventions with strong social ties are associated with less delinquent behavior (). Similarly, conscientiousness or constraint as reflected in careful, information-based planning is associated with a lower occurrence of delinquent behaviors (). However, a burgeoning body of literature indicates that individuals with a diffuse-avoidant style engage in self-serving problem behaviors and maladaptive patterns of interpersonal behaviors such as conduct disorders, delinquency, illegal drug use, and alcohol abuse (, , , -), while impulsiveness and low levels of self-control are associated with conduct problems and disorders (). Philips and Pittman indicated that adolescents employing a diffuse-avoidant style differed significantly from those employing information or normative styles in terms of self-esteem, hopelessness, optimism/efficacy, and delinquent attitudes. Diffuse-avoidant participants were less optimistic, had lower self-esteem, expressed greater hopelessness, and had higher delinquent attitude scores than participants using either a normative or an informational style ()...

Full article at:

1Department of Counseling and Psychology, Institute of Higher Education of Khatam, Tehran, IR Iran
2Department of Psychology, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, IR Iran
3Medical Educator, Medical Publisher, Medi and World International, Melbourne, Australia
*Corresponding author: Anahita Khodabakhshi Koolaee, Department of Counseling and Psychology, Institute of Higher Education of Khatam, Tehran, IR Iran. Tel: +98-9122342717, Fax: +98-2188922449, E-mail: moc.oohay@ihshkabadohk_anna

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