The Spillover Mechanisms Linking Family Conflicts and Juvenile Delinquency Among Chinese Adolescents

Tzu Hsuan Liu, Spencer De Li, Xiaohua Zhang, Yiwei Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The mechanisms through which conflicting parental relationship and parenting practices influence adolescent antisocial behavior have not been adequately understood. To bring more understanding to the mechanisms, this study investigates how marital discord interrelates with interparental inconsistency in parenting practices, and how these family conditions influence juvenile delinquency through their spillover effects on mental health problems, parental attachment and delinquent peer association among Chinese adolescents. Findings obtained from a structural equation modeling analysis of survey data collected from a probability sample of 2,496 adolescents (mean age = 15.16 years) are generally consistent with the spillover effect hypothesis. The results demonstrate that mental health problems, parental attachment, and delinquent peer association operate as critical mediators linking marital discord and interparental inconsistency to juvenile delinquency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The survey project that collected the data used in this study was funded by a research grant from University of Macau.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • delinquent peer association
  • interparental inconsistency
  • juvenile delinquency
  • marital discord
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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