Adolescent Vandalism: the Role of the Parent-Child Relationship in the Development of Destructive Behavior
Background. While the phenomena of intentional destroying and damaging of private property have been known since ancient times, the term “vandalism” appears only in 19th century. In the 20th century, much research devoted to vandalism was conducted in the spheres of criminology, sociology, psychology, and education. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to investigating the correlation between a child’s propensity for vandalism and the child-parent relationship.
Objective and Method. The main purpose of our research was to investigate the correlation between the styles of family upbringing and adolescents’ propensity for vandalism. For this purpose, we analyzed the main predictors of adolescents’ propensity for vandalism on the basis of the psychological diagnostics of 60 Russian families from Ekaterinburg. We investigated whether the fact that a child was brought up in a one-parent or disadvantaged family is significant for forming an adolescent propensity for vandalism. We also clarified the influence of various styles of family upbringing on an adolescent’s propensity for vandalism of different types.
Results. Based on statistical analysis, we concluded that an atmosphere of violence within the family plays a key role in forming adolescents’ propensity for vandalism. The style of maternal upbringing has a greater influence on determining adolescent destructive behavior than the paternal, especially when the father’s parenting style is “non-interference.”
Conclusion. Based on our research results, we suggest that preventive the efforts against vandalism should be directed toward the prevention of family violence, and that there should be a differential approach toward parental education directed toward correcting individual parental styles of upbringing.
Themes: Developmental psychology
Keywords: vandalism, deviations in juvenile behavior, adolescence, child-parent relationships, styles of parental upbringing, destructive behavior