82). In essence, they sought to examine whether any study or studies had conclusively proven a relationship between broken homes and delinquency.
Wells & Rankin's meta-analysis determined that most prior studies had indeed demonstrated a positive relationship between broken homes and juvenile delinquency (1991, p. 83). In particular, they found support for the theory that a juvenile's family structure impacted the type of delinquency in which he or she engage. For example, most delinquents from broken homes engaged in status offenses such as drug use (possession) (Wells & Rankin, 1991, p. 84). Significantly, they also determined that studies within the medical/psychiatric orientations tended to show a higher average correlation between broken homes and delinquency than did studies with other disciplines. They concluded that such differences could be attributed to the medical profession's use of small contrived samples from groups previously determined to be delinquent (1991, p. 85).
III. Juvenile Delinquency as Immature Behavior
Thus, Wells & Rankin's study offers support for the theory that juvenile delinquency is a function of a broken home environment. However, it is undoubtedly true that not all juveniles from broken homes become either delinquents or career criminals. Consequently, a broken home in and of itself will never serve as the sole means for explaining delinquency. Nonetheless, it does offer treatment providers one indicator of delinquency. In addition, the disadvantages suffered by a juvenile in a broken home can be exacerbated by other factors that can lead to delinquency. For example, another theory as to the roots of juvenile delinquency asserts that juveniles' self-control levels may not yet be fixed. Thus, crime appears to be attractive because the offenders do not contemplate the inevitable long-term consequences (Tittle & Grasmick, 1997). Particularly in a broken home, a juvenile may see no reaso...
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