Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Karen Van Gundy


This thesis applies tenets of strain theory and social control theory to explore the influences that family attachment and family conflict may have on juvenile delinquency and substance use. This thesis examines the effect of one type of strain, family conflict, and family attachment, one of the key bonds described in control theory, on juvenile's propensity to commit delinquent acts or use substances. In addition, this thesis explores possible gender differences in the way that these family variables impact risk for delinquency and substance use. This thesis includes a rural sample of two groups of adolescents (8th and 12th grade), employing logistic regression equations to evaluate the effects of family conflict and attachment on delinquency and substance use, along with moderating effects of gender and age. It was found that family conflict, but not family attachment, was significantly related to delinquent behavior and substance use. The theoretical implications of these results and areas for future research are discussed.