Parental Arrest and Adolescent Delinquency in Singapore: The Moderating Roles of Narcissism, Callous-Unemotional Traits, and Impulsivity

Xiang Li, Rebecca P. Ang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Adolescent delinquency is an important issue, and of universal concern. Parental arrest history has been recognized to have negative impacts on children’s delinquent behavior. This study focused on the predictors of adolescent delinquency, including parental influences and adolescents’ own personal traits. Methods: We explored the relationship between parental arrest and children’s delinquency among 1027 Singaporean secondary school students aged between 12 and 19 years (M age = 14.10). Specifically, we used hierarchical multiple regression to examine the moderating effects that different dimensions of psychopathic traits, including narcissism, callous-unemotional (CU) traits, and impulsivity, have on the relation between parental arrest and adolescent delinquency. Results: Findings suggested that parental arrest significantly and positively predicted the delinquent behavior of their children. Although narcissism, CU traits, and impulsivity showed significant main effects on delinquency, only narcissism and CU traits, but not impulsivity, were found to significantly interact with parental arrest in predicting adolescent delinquency. With a high level of narcissism and CU traits, adolescents whose parents have had a prior arrest history were more likely to display higher levels of delinquent behavior. Conclusions: These findings shed light on the importance of reducing adolescents’ narcissism and CU traits when developing prevention and intervention strategies to combat delinquency of adolescents with arrested parents in an Asian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-783
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • Callous-unemotional traits
  • Delinquency
  • Impulsivity
  • Narcissism
  • Parental arrest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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