Family Matters: A Cross-National Examination of Family Bonding and Victimization

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European Journal of Criminology




Family bonding is a mainstay in theories of crime and delinquency. Recently, it has also been extended to explain exposure to victimization in the US and abroad. Although research reveals that there are differences between countries in their views about the importance of family, scholarship has not yet considered how and why the protective features of family bonding might vary across the country context according to how the family is valued. This study, using data from the second International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD-2), reveals that both individual levels of family bonding and macro levels of the perceived importance of the family are negatively related to victimization. Analyses suggest that exposure to victimization and the effects of family bonding vary across contexts where the effect of family bonding on victimization is stronger in countries that view the family as more important. We conclude that these results contribute insight into the operationalization of victimization theories across the country context and that policies at the country level may prove useful in reducing victimization risk.