In the company of women: Structure and agency in a revised power-control theory of gender and delinquency

Bill McCarthy, John Hagan, Todd S. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

A power-control theory of the gender-delinquency relationship draws attention to differences in familial control practices. We extend the theory to address how parental agency and support for dominant attitudes or schemas influence male as well as female delinquency. This extension emphasizes that differences in structure, particularly between more and less patriarchal households, result in different family practices, especially for mothers and sons. We find that variation in mothers' agency within the home affects their sons' support of conventional views, in particular, attitudes about the gendered nature of activities, risk preferences, and beliefs about impunity, as well as their involvement in delinquent activities. Thus, the agency of mothers in less patriarchal families is an underappreciated source of reduced delinquency among sons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-789
Number of pages29
JournalCriminology
Volume37
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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