Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Cheryl O. Hausafus


Malaysia is confronting a problem of increased adolescent delinquency. Despite these situations, there is very little research on adolescent delinquency. Some researchers have suggested that family functioning dimensions may become risk factors to the development of risky behaviors. The primary aim of this study is to examine perceived family functioning dimensions (problem solving, affective involvement, affective response, roles, communication, behavior control, general functioning, family time, religious belief, and religious practice) and their effect on the occurrence of adolescent delinquency. In addition, this study also investigates the effect of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on total delinquency scores of this group. Finally, this study examines the effect of socioeconomic status and gender on overall family functioning scores of the group. Data were collected from seven secondary schools in the urban area in the state of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. There were 286 participants from three ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) who came from different socioeconomic status families. Several instruments including Family Assessment Device, adapted Family Time and Routine Index, adapted Religious Practice in Family, adapted Self-Report Delinquency Scale and demographic questionnaires were used;Stepwise regression indicated that gender and problem solving were the two strongest predictors to delinquency. Two-way ANOVA showed that male Chinese were significantly different from other groups in delinquency. Both genders in low socioeconomic status families were significantly different from other groups. In particular, males from middle socioeconomic status families have better family functioning than females. Further, males from high socioeconomic status families have greater family functioning than males from low and middle socioeconomic status families. The result also indicates that gender, problem solving, and low socioeconomic status families were the culture-common concept or etic in delinquency. Further, males having better family functioning dimension than females was found to be a culture-specific concept or emic in this collectivist culture. Males from higher socioeconomic status perceived more positive family functioning than the other groups. The higher family functioning resulted in lower delinquency was a culture-common concept in this study. Implications for family educators and mental health professionals and on future research are discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Fauziah Hanim Abdul Jalal



Proquest ID


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File Size

209 pages