Family structure and juvenile delinquency in Italy: a study carried out through the self-report inquiry


  • Barbara Gualco
  • Mario Ruocco
  • Regina Rensi


The current study is based on an in-depth international collaboration project named as the “International Self-Report Study - 2” which involves various expert from 30 European and extra-European countries supporting the study of the relationship between family and juvenile delinquency. For this purpose, the main focus of this study is the typology of the family structure and juvenile delinquency; this kind of study aims to shape if the presence of both parents in the family can cause an illicit factor on the child’s behaviour in respect to a different family structure named “alternative”. The data through which the opportune analyses have been done, have been provided by the questionnaire administered to a sample of young students from the 7th to the 10th grade, representative of the Italian juvenile population during the inquiry IRSD-2. With regard to the item related to the family structure - "Are you living with your own mother and your own father?" -, the typologies of family structure individualized are:
1) United Family: presence of both parents;
2) Monoparental Family: presence of only one of the parents;
3) Recomposed Family: the youth lives with his own mother and her partner/stepfather or with his own father and his partner/step-mother;
4) Alternative Family: the youth spends a part of his time with his own mother and the other part with his own father.
The relationship between family structure and youth delinquency is analysed in the first part of this research, whereas the second part deals with the family climate the youth lives in. As numerous international researches on the field have shown, family climate rich in tension and conflicts may have negative repercussions on the youth and induce him to deviance. Ii is opportune to specificy that the results of this research have not the pretension to provide observation of a causal nature, but have rather a descriptive purpose.