Has parenting changed over recent decades? Can changes in parenting explain the rise in adolescent problem behaviour **NOT FOR CITATION IN CURRENT FORM**

Publication type

Research Paper


Nuffield Foundation Changing Adolescence Programme Working Paper


Publication date

July 1, 2009


Adolescent problem behaviour has shown rising trends over the last 50 years (Rutter & Smith, 1995). Among the many factors canvassed as possible contributors to these trends, concerns over ‘declines’ in the quality of family life and parenting have loomed large in both public and policy debate (Ambert, 2006; Margo & Dixon, 2006; DfES 2006). Patterns of family formation and levels of family disruption have clearly shown major changes over that period, as have the patterns of parents’ working lives. Given these demographic trends, it seems plausible to assume that more proximal indicators of parenting – well-established predictors of problem behaviour within any generation of young people – may also have changed at the same time. To date, however, very little is known about the evidence for these assumptions; few commentators have attempted to bring together extant data on time trends in parenting, and no studies have examined the extent to which they could account for rising levels of problem behaviour in the young. That is the purpose of this review.





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