HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 17 no. 2 (2017)

Structure or Relationship? Rethinking Family Influences on Juvenile Delinquency in Malaysia

Tan Bee Piang | Zuraini Jamil Osman | Noor Banu Mahadir



A broken family structure and poor family relationship are seen as contributing to delinquent behavior in different ways. Despite Malaysian society being strongly focused on family values, there have been significant increases in the rates of both divorce and single-parent families. Thus, there is the question of whether these changes in family structure are a contributing factor to the increasing rate of juvenile delinquency seen in recent years. This study aims to examine the relative influences of family structure and family relationship on juvenile delinquent behavior in Malaysia. A sample of 196 juveniles from two rehabilitation centers in Malaysia participated in this study. The study finds that there are no significant correlations between family structure and juvenile delinquent behavior. The data show that a significant percentage of juveniles are not from broken families. Most, however, do experience a poor-quality family relationship.