Parental Criminality among Head Start Children: Associations with Children’s Problem Behaviors

Soumya Alva, Westat, Inc.
Nicholas Zill, Westat, Inc.
Yair Ziv, Westat, Inc.

A theory on criminality and self-control argues that influences on children begin at an early age by way of parental involvement and the nature of child-rearing. This paper uses data from the Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2000, conducted between 2000 and 2003, to examine the relationship between parent criminality and Head Start children’s social-emotional development including their social skills and problem behaviors such as aggression, hyperactivity, and withdrawn behavior. We also examine the nature of parental involvement and child-rearing in families with an incidence of parental criminality because of the potential mediator roles that these practices might hold on the relationship between parental criminality and the likelihood of aggressive and other behaviors among young children. Research findings establishing the relationship between parental criminal behavior and child’s behavior argues for a potential intervening role of Head Start to ease the effects of parental criminal activities and children’s anti-social behavior.

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Presented in Session 31: Demography of Crime