Sleeping away from home: a vehicle for adolescent delinquency?

Date19 March 2018
Publication Date19 March 2018
AuthorZachary Giano,Michael J. Merten,Brooke Tuttle
SubjectHealth & social care,Vulnerable groups,Children's services,Sociology,Sociology of the family,Children/youth,Parents,Education,Early childhood education,Home culture,Social/physical development
Sleeping away from home: a vehicle for
adolescent delinquency?
Zachary Giano, Michael J. Merten and Brooke Tuttle
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between persistently sleeping away from
the home as a predictor of adolescent delinquency in a largely Latino sample of 91 adolescents.
Design/methodology/approach This study employs multiple linear regressions to examine the
relationship between sleeping away from the home (IV) and antisocial behavior and substance use (DVs) with
dangerous neighborhood characteristics as a moderator.
Findings Results show that sleeping away from the home on a persistent basis is a significant predictor of
antisocial behavior and substance use. Neighborhood characteristics moderated the effect of sleeping away
on substance use only. One possible explanation includes opportunitiesfor increased time with deviant peers
that is created by persistently sleeping away from home. Additionally, sleeping away from the home may
allow adolescents from strict households to opportunistically engage in delinquent behavior in households
with less strict rules.
Originality/value Although sleeping away is a common behavior often encouragedby parents as a part of
social learning, there is evidence to suggest that it could be potentially detrimental, particularly amplified when
the adolescent lives in more dangerous neighborhoods. To date, this is the first study to examine the effects
of persistently sleeping away from the home on adolescent delinquency.
Keywords Adolescent, Delinquency, Antisocial, Sleep, Neighborhood, Substance
Paper type Research paper
While juvenile crime has been decreasing over the last ten years, delinquency remains a serious
concern during adolescence due to its criminogenic implications for communities and individual
risk trajectories that may follow across the lifespan (Trumbetta et al., 2010). Since 2007, juvenile
arrests have decreased by over 50 percent; however, it isestimated that juveniles remaininvolved
in one-fifth of violent victimizations each year. Despite the overall reduction in delinquencies, the
number of juvenilearrests exceeded 850,000 in 2016 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, 2017). It is well documented that minority adolescents are at greater risk for various
types of adolescent delinquency, especially if they identify as Latino (Amey and Albrecht, 1998;
Samaniego and Gonzales, 1999; Seroczynski and Jobst, 2016). Previous empirical research has
also supported the importance that peers and neighborhood characteristics have on adolescent
delinquency(Deutsch et al.,2012;Keijsersetal., 2012), with specific emphasison minorities such
as Latino youth (Ghazarianand Roche, 2010; Jennings et al., 2010). Whileindividual factors, peer
relationships,and neighborhood characteristics are among antecedents to delinquency, the act of
persistently sleeping away from home involves both relational and contextual factors and thereby
warrants exploration as a pathway to delinquency.
Sleeping away from home
Although sleep has been widely studied in the past decade, few studies have investigated the
effects of sleeping away from the home on adolescent health-related or psychosocial outcomes.
Moncrief et al. (2014) found that routinely sleeping away from the home was associated with
asthma and other mild, health-related problems for children. Behaviorally, sleepovers have been
established as an antecedent to pre-marital sex for adolescents (Deaton, 2013). While the above
Received 26 June 2017
Revised 1 February 2018
7 February 2018
Accepted 9 March 2018
This research was supported by
the George Kaiser Family
Foundation through an
endowment fund to support Family
Resilience research.
Zachary Giano is Research
Associate at the Department of
Human Development and
Family Science, Oklahoma
State University, Tulsa,
Oklahoma, USA.
Michael J. Merten and
Brooke Tuttle are both based at
the Department of Human
Development and Family
Science, Oklahoma State
University, Tulsa, Oklahoma,
PAG E 44
VOL. 13 NO. 1 2018, pp. 44-56, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1746-6660 DOI 10.1108/JCS-06-2017-0028

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