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Project Topic:

PARENT-ADOLESCENT RELATIONSHIP AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN KERALA, INDIA: A QUALITATIVE STUDY

Project Information:

 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1-5 ::   Pages: 65 ::   Attributes: Questionnaire, Data Analysis  ::   1,419 people found this useful

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EDUCATION UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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INTRODUCTION

Young people who are at risk of becoming delinquent often live in difficult circumstances. Children who for various reasons—including parental alcoholism, poverty, breakdown of the family, overcrowding, abusive conditions in the home, the growing HIV/AIDS scourge, or the death of parents during armed conflicts—are orphans or unaccompanied and are without the means of subsistence, housing and other basic necessities are at greatest risk of falling into juvenile delinquency. The number of children in especially difficult circumstances is estimated to have increasedfrom 80 million to 150 million between 1992 and 2000. (UN World Youth Report, 2003)

Adolescence is a transitional period of development from childhood to adulthood with evident biological and emotional changes. These changes bring transformation and reorganization in family relationships (Steinberg, 1990). Moreover, adolescents start viewing themselves as adults and, on the contrary, parents may find it difficult to adapt to this perception. There may also be a shift in the unilateral authority enjoyed by the parents towards a mutual authority in which adolescents share decision-making power and increasing amounts of personal jurisdiction (Youniss & Smollar, 1985). Furthermore, interactions between the adolescent and parents can lead to conflict (Steinberg, 1990). Among adolescents, early adolescence (ages 10-15) has been associated with

 

higher levels of conflict with parents (Laursen, Coy, & Collins, 1998), and adolescent- parent relationships may be transformed dramatically during this period.

When considering the development of an adolescent, the quality of parent- adolescent relationships is vital. In a study by Chao (2001), the closeness of parent- adolescent relationships explained the beneficial effect of authoritative control. Yet another study by Dekovic, Janssens, and Van As (2003), demonstrated that quality of parent-adolescent relationships explains adolescent antisocial behavior. The quality of relationships could be defined as a constellation of attitudes toward the child that are communicated to the child in the long history of the relationships (Darling & Steinberg, 1993). Dekovic (1999) found that the negative quality of relationships between the adolescents and their parents is related to higher levels of externalizing problems, such as disturbing others, verbal and physical aggression, and acts of violence (Nelson, Rutherford, & Wolford, 1996). Research has found that the relationships between adolescents with antisocial behavior and their parents are characterized by a lack of intimacy, mutuality, and by more blaming and anger (Dekovic et al., 2003).

Furthermore, research has found that conflicting quality of parent-adolescent relationships leads to adolescent maladjustment (Inge, Maja, & Anne, 2006). Adolescent deviant behavior from the social norms is also associated with parents’ relationship with adolescents. In a study conducted by Krohn and colleagues in 1992 (as cited by Alexander & Daniel, 1997), they identified three major factors of family process. They are parental guidance, parental involvement and parental attachment that have effects on delinquent behavior.

Juvenile Crime in India In India, crimes are usually classified into crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and crimes under the Special and Local Laws (SLL). There was a substantial increase in crimes committed by adolescents in India from 1997 to 2007 on the national level under IPC. In this period there was an increase from 0.5% to 1.1% in the total crimes committed under IPC. Crimes committed by adolescents under the Indian Penal Code increased by 8.4% from 2006 to 2007, with a reported registration of 22,865 cases in 2007 (Crime in India, 2007). But in 2010 there was a small decrease in the reported cases of crime under the IPC: 22,740 cases (Crime in India, 2010). Adolescent crimes under the SLL have shown a 12% decrease from 2006 to 2007 (Crime in India, 2007). This was further decreased in 2010 with 2,558 cases (Crime in India, 2010), while in 2007 there were 4,163 reported cases. There are substantial differences in the number of crimes committed by boys and girls in India. In 2007, a total of 34,527 crimes were committed by adolescents alone, and 32,671 were committed by boys and only 1,856 crimes were committed by girls. Thus, girls contributed only 5.4% of the total crimes committed by adolescents in India in 2007 (Crime in India, 2007). Additionally, the ratio of girls to boys arrested for committing IPC crimes in 2010 was 1:20, and the ratio of girls arrested for committing SLL crimes in 2010 was 1:11. Considering this gender disparity in crime in India, I explored only boys with delinquent behavior in this study.

The present study did not investigate the adolescents who were in the justice system; rather, it included adolescents who have shown minor antisocial behavior, and tried to compare the results with adolescents who have no reported delinquent behavior cases. Kauffman (2001) found that only 3% of delinquent behaviors are adjudicated in

the United States. Therefore, the majority of delinquent behaviors are not reported in the judicial system. In this study, parent-adolescent relationships are being explored from the perspective of adolescence. The present study explored parent-adolescent attachment; adolescent views towards parental guidance; adolescent perception about parental control; adolescent views of parental pressure; and the type of communication between the adolescent and the parent from a relationship perspective. Additionally, the study investigated differences between adolescents who had been involved in delinquent behavior and those who had not.

Research Questions

Following are the research questions that guided the study:

1.       What are the demographic characteristics of adolescent boys involved in delinquent behavior as compared to adolescent boys who are not involved in delinquent behaviors?

2.       Do adolescent boys involved in delinquent behaviors perceive their relationship with their mother differently than adolescent boys who are not involved in delinquent behaviors?

3.       Do adolescent boys involved in delinquent behaviors perceive their relationship with their father differently than adolescent boys who are not involved in delinquent behaviors?

4.       Do adolescent boys involved in delinquent behaviors react differently towards parental control, guidance, and pressure when compared to adolescent boys who are not involved in delinquent behaviors?

Methods

Using qualitative research methods, the above mentioned research questions were explored in this research. For the purpose of data collection, 21 early adolescents ages 14­16 were recruited to the study. Participants were observed, interviewed individually, and participated in focus groups. Interviews and focus groups were conducted in the language called, Malayalam. Later, these interviews and focus group discussions were transcribed into Malayalam. All the narratives from the interviews and focus groups were not translated into English, but those that were in the story line of the findings were translated into English. This translation was done by me and was cross checked by a person who reads, writes, and understands both Malayalam and English. For the purpose of detailed analysis, I used line-by-line coding to identify major themes. I identified students showing delinquent behavior (burglary, theft, arson, peer fights, destruction of property, school norm violation, antisocial behavior, and substance abuse) and not showing delinquent behavior, based on teachers’ report. A Higher Secondary School in Kochi, India was the location for recruiting the participants in the study. Volunteers were contacted through the school. Prior to the recruitment of the participants, IRB approval was granted for the study from the Institutional Review Board at the University of Utah.

Significance of the Study The purpose of this study was to investigate the parent-adolescent relationships of early teenagers with delinquent behavior and compare that with the parent-adolescent relationships of early teenagers who had not shown any reported cases of delinquent behavior. In this study, adolescents’ perception of their parents and how the parents react

to various adolescent problems were explored with early adolescent boys of Kerala, India. Study findings have implications for social workers, teachers, and other professionals working in the field of delinquency prevention and intervention, as well as for policy makers at the local and state level in India. The study sought to provide direction for policy development, as well as to inform families, schools, communities, and juvenile justice agencies in modifying existing services or developing new services for the adolescents of Kerala and India.

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