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Delinquency among Adopted Youth at School: Parental Bonds and Strain

Wed, Nov 16, 11:00am to 12:20pm, Hilton, Chequers, 2nd Level

Abstract

This study examines the impact of parental bonds and strain on the delinquent behavior of adopted adolescents using data derived from the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP). This study adds to the literature by examining delinquency among youth in adoptive families, an understudied group. We determine the effects of the quality of parental bonds and potential sources of strain including adoption type, the child’s history of abuse and mental health diagnoses, and demographics, on truancy and school disciplinary problems. The findings reveal male, Black, Hispanic, and Asian students are more likely than Whites and females to engage in truancy, as are youth with a potential history of abuse and/or neglect. Adoptive parents of adolescents who less frequently share affection and trust with their child, and those who report more frequently not understanding their child, are more likely to report both that their child has engaged in truancy and has experienced school disciplinary problems including suspension and expulsion, underscoring the importance of parental bonds. Interestingly, while adolescents in foster care adoptions are less likely to engage in truancy, they are more likely to experience disciplinary problems at school, as are Black and male youth.

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