Family interventions and their biosocial bases

Authored by: Brandy R. Maynard , Matthew Larson

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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The family has played a central role in theories of delinquency and crime since criminology emerged in the nineteenth century (Wells and Rankin, 1991), and research examining the etiology of antisocial behaviors historically has emphasized family factors (Heath et al., 1997; Beaver et al., 2007). Family-related factors have been identified as salient predictors of violent and criminal behavior (Farrington, 2002) and thus are considered important targets for delinquency and crime prevention and intervention. Much of the extant research, however, has focused on the interface between the individual and the environment, particularly the family, and has been informed by theories that focus on those interfaces (e.g. social learning theory, social control theory, life-course theory, strain theory), neglecting genetic and biological factors. While the family has historically received a great deal of attention, acceptance of biosocial research—research that examines and links psychosocial factors to genetics, neurobiology, and physiology, together with technological, methodological, and theoretical advances—has led to a burgeoning of biosocial research as it pertains to the study of human development, criminology, and family processes. As such, biosocial research has begun to advance our knowledge of the salience of genetic and other biological variables and interplay between biosocial factors that contribute, directly and indirectly, to delinquency and crime (Raine, 2002; Moffitt, 2005; Baker et al., 2006; Raine and Yang, 2006; Vaughn et al., 2009; Derzon, 2010) and family processes (see D’Onofrio and Lahey, 2010).

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