What is the impact of parenting on the level of self–control and delinquency among brothers and sisters? Why do young males exhibit lower levels of self-control?
These are two key questions Penn State Harrisburg Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Danielle Boisvert hopes to answer in a research project with criminal justice graduate student and Middletown resident Justine Taylor.
Boisvert recently profiled her “work in progress” to faculty, staff, and students as part of the faculty seminar series on campus hosted by the college’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies. During the presentation, “Self-control and delinquency among brother-sister pairs: Effects of differential parenting on sibling differences,” she related some of the preliminary findings in the study.
“Self-control emerges due to effective parenting,” Boisvert said. “Low self-control is a strong predictor of criminal activity.”
Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, she examined 1,200 sibling pairs and focused on environmental factors to explain: 1) Why females are more strongly attached to their parents; 2) If females are monitored more closely than males; and 3) If males are raised to be more risk-taking. In turn, she also examines whether these differences in parenting experienced by brothers and sisters explains their differences in self-control and delinquent involvement.
Boisvert hopes to determine if parents treat male and female children differently and to examine the impact in relation to low self-control. “Early data suggest parents do treat sons and daughters differently which may lead to the self-control difficulties and delinquency,” Boisvert said.
While profiling her research, Boisvert also used the forum to gain additional refining input from fellow faculty members. A college strength is its vast research focus with faculty scholars consistently sharing their expertise with others.
Boisvert terms the feedback from faculty as “great, in regards to incorporating the effects that siblings play on behaviors, and examine whether socioeconomic status affects parenting techniques, and to examine whether the way a parent was raised when they were a child affects their own parenting. It was also suggested to examine a child’s perceived gender as opposed to biological sex. All great suggestions that could significantly improve this research project.”