Delinquent-Oriented attitudes mediate the relation between parental inconsistent discipline and early adolescent behavior

Linda C. Halgunseth, Daniel F. Perkins, Melissa A. Lippold, Robert L. Nix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Although substantial research supports the association between parental inconsistent discipline and early adolescent behaviors, less is understood on mechanisms underlying this relation. This study examined the mediating influence of delinquent-oriented attitudes in early adolescence. Using a longitudinal sample of 324 rural adolescents and their parents, findings revealed that inconsistent discipline in sixth grade predicted an increase in adolescent delinquent-oriented attitudes by seventh grade which, in turn, predicted both an increase in early adolescent antisocial behaviors and a decrease in socially competent behaviors by eighth grade. Therefore, it appears that accepting attitudes toward delinquency may in part develop from experiencing inconsistent discipline at home and may offer a possible explanation as to why early adolescents later engage in more antisocial and less socially competent behaviors. Findings may inform family-based preventive intervention programs that seek to decrease behavior problems and promote social competence in early adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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