Family Rituals and Deviant Behavior

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Many researchers have sought to identify the antecedents of deviant behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore whether family rituals might contribute to social control, and thereby reduce deviant behavior. Walter Reckless' containment theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. This theory suggests that both inner and outer containment variables control social behavior. It was proposed that meaningful family rituals would contribute to the development of inner and outer containment, and therefore, reduce the number of deviant behaviors committed by the respondents. In this study, the inner containment variable was self-esteem, and the outer containment variables were ... continued below

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Roberts, Joanne August 2002.

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  • Roberts, Joanne

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Description

Many researchers have sought to identify the antecedents of deviant behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore whether family rituals might contribute to social control, and thereby reduce deviant behavior. Walter Reckless' containment theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. This theory suggests that both inner and outer containment variables control social behavior. It was proposed that meaningful family rituals would contribute to the development of inner and outer containment, and therefore, reduce the number of deviant behaviors committed by the respondents. In this study, the inner containment variable was self-esteem, and the outer containment variables were participation in conforming activities with family members both inside and outside the home, and participation in extracurricular activities. Two hundred and seven incarcerated respondents and 217 college students responded to three survey instruments, the Family Rituals Questionnaire, the Culture Free Self-Esteem Inventory, and a Family Information Inventory. Findings indicated that the college students reported experiencing more meaningful family rituals than the incarcerated respondents. Results indicate that the two groups differed significantly on all of the major variables. However, meaningful family rituals had little association with self-esteem, and self-esteem had no relationship with deviant behavior. Meaningful family rituals did account for some variation in participation in conforming activities with family members inside and outside the home and for participation in extracurricular activities. However, the variables that were most significant for explaining deviant behavior were the risk factors of age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, neighborhood crime, and parents's deviance. Future research should explore the role of risk factors in explaining deviant behavior and study the role of meaningful family rituals and the role they might play in creating a qualitative difference in family life.

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  • August 2002

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  • May 14, 2008, 8:12 p.m.

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  • Dec. 4, 2013, 12:20 p.m.

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Roberts, Joanne. Family Rituals and Deviant Behavior, dissertation, August 2002; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5516/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .