Social Relationships and Delinquency: Revisiting Parent and Peer Influence During Adolescence

Jonathan R. Brauer, Stacy De Coster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Scholars interested in delinquency have focused much attention on the influence of parent and peer relationships. Prior research has assumed that parents control delinquency because they value convention, whereas peers promote delinquency because they value and model nonconvention. We argue that it is important to assess the normative and behavioral orientations of those to whom adolescents feel close to accurately model how relationships operate. Drawing on social control, social learning, and a prominent developmental perspective, we derive and test alternative hypotheses about the manner in which attachments to significant others and the normative and behavioral orientations of these others operate either independently or in tandem to influence delinquency. Empirical findings based on tobit regressions and National Youth Survey (NYS) data suggest that social learning theory is best equipped to explain peer influence; however, the developmental perspective appears more applicable to parent influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-394
Number of pages21
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 21 2015



  • conformity
  • delinquency
  • parents
  • peers
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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