Date of Award

Winter 2012

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Cesar Rebellon


Using Gottfredson and Hirschi's parental socialization thesis as a theoretical framework, the present study explores whether or not violent socialization processes are associated with criminal behavior, both at the micro-level and macro-level, across 32 different nations. Analyses were conducted on data from the International Dating Violence Study (Straus & Members of the International Dating Violence Research Consortium, 2004). Bivariate statistical analyses show that violent socialization tends to be more prevalent among nations with indicators of violence (e.g., laws supporting the death penalty) compared to nations without such indicators. The results of ordinary least squares regression analysis indicate that violent familial socialization processes are associated with individual criminal behavior within some nations, but not all nations. The results of multilevel modeling regression analysis reveal that criminal behavior significantly varies across the 32 different nations and violent socialization can explain a significant proportion of this variation.

The findings from this exploratory study mostly supported the two main hypotheses: youth from families that use violent socialization processes tend to engage in significantly more criminal behavior, compared to youth from families that use nonviolent familial socialization processes (H1) and criminal behavior significantly varies nation to nation as part of a context of norms of violence (i.e., violent socialization processes (H2). While these findings are preliminary, this dissertation project provides a reference point for future comparative research on how norms may influence socialization processes within different nations and the ultimately the effects on criminal behavior.