Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Parental Attachment, Peer Attachment, and Delinquency among Adolescents in Selangor, Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Parental Attachment, Peer Attachment, and Delinquency among Adolescents in Selangor, Malaysia

Article excerpt


This study aimed to investigate the relationships between parental attachment, peer attachment and delinquency among adolescents. 480 adolescents aged 13-17 were randomly selected from four secondary schools in Malaysia. The revised version of the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA) (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987) and the Self-report Delinquency Scale (Mak, 1993) were used in this study. The results revealed significant negative relationship between father and mother attachment with adolescents' delinquency and significant positive relationship between peer attachments with adolescents' delinquency. Statistically significant differences were obtained for males and females adolescents where males are more delinquent than females. Multiple regression analysis showed that gender is the strongest predictors for adolescents' delinquency, followed by peer attachment, mother attachment and father attachment. Practical recommendation and implementation are discussed where attachment could be included as a target for implementing intervention.

Keywords: parental attachment, peer attachment, adolescents, delinquency

1. Introduction

Delinquency among adolescents has become a serious phenomenon in our country. Juvenile delinquent behavior refers to the behavior committed by someone below eighteen years old where it violates the criminal law (Houston & Barton, 2005). These delinquent behaviors can range from less severe behaviors such as abuse the school rules, absentee, school truancy, cigarette smoking, and vandalism to more severe crime such as stealing, robbery, substance abuse, rape, and weapon possession.

Different countries have different cultures and laws, thus juvenile delinquency is also defined differently among countries and cultures. Malaysia consists of people from different ethnics and cultural backgrounds. There are three main races in Malaysia which are Malay, Chinese, and India. The religiosity among these races is different although some may have similar culture identity. For instance, Malays who are Muslims are not limited only to the civil law. They are also judged based on the Syariah law for behaviors that are against their religion. Example of behaviors that are against the Syariah law includes consumption of alcoholic drinks, not fasting during the fasting month, close proximity, and improper dressing and behaviors which are considered inappropriate in their religion. Chinese, Indian, and other races are not entitled to the Syariah law unless they have converted to Islam (Adibah, Melati & Zuria, 2013; The Commissioner of Law Revision, Malaysia, 2006).

Based on the law in Malaysia, juvenile delinquent refers to a young person who had committed a criminal offence and was given a court order (Maznah, 2007). The Malaysian Ministry of Education stated that delinquency in school include both violation of the Penal Code as well as the school norms. Student may be punished by the school authorities for misconduct behaviors such as vandalism, fighting, smoking, truancy, and some minor misbehavior which include disrespect to others, impoliteness, inappropriate or messy school attire or appearance, and bringing items that are banned to school such as hand phone.

However, students who committed serious offences which include the violation of the criminal law are handed over to the police force for investigation. The Prison Department of Malaysia detains juveniles aged between 14 to 21 years in prison as young prisoners. Juveniles are also being detained in Henry Gurney School as students where they are being educated (Maznah, 2007).

In Malaysia, juvenile cases have risen steadily since 2002. Daily newspaper reports with new titles such as "Mat Rempit", "Bohsia and Bohjan", "Infanticide", "Drug Abuses", "Rape", and "Abortion" that frequently appeared at the front page of our local newspapers are the evidences of the increasing delinquency behaviors among adolescents. …

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