Childhood broken homes and adult violence: an analysis of moderators and mediators

Delphine Theobald, David P. Farrington, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Children who experience a family breakdown due to the separation or divorce of their parents may be at an increased risk of violent offending especially if they have experienced a disadvantaged upbringing that included low family income, marital disharmony, or parental criminality. Methods: Using data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, we examine the effect of experiencing a broken home on subsequent violence. We further examine possible mediators and moderators of this effect. Results: We find that self-reported violence and hyperactivity act as possible mediators on the effect of a broken home on later violent convictions. We also find evidence for moderation of this effect by harsh discipline, nervousness, low family income, and having a young mother. Conclusions: We discuss the findings in the context of future research and possible policy recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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