Aug 03 2009
Does living at home breed violence?
“Home” belongs in the same category as Mom, apple pie and baseball, doesn’t it?
New research suggests the benevolence of living at home with parents . . . depends. It depends upon the sex and age of the individual.
The news release to the study bore this title: Young men living at home with parents are more violent. Okay, they’ve discovered a correlation, but is the link between variables causal or inertly predictive or something else?
Here’s the data the correlation consists of -
Professor Jeremy Coid and Dr Ming Yang surveyed over 8000 men and women. Participants answered questions about violent behaviour over the past 5 years and mental health problems.
Their results showed for the first time that staying in the parental home is a stronger risk factor for young men’s violence than any other factor.
A “risk factor.” What’s a risk factor? Good question.
Is living at home the equivalent of a young, adult male’s non-religious madrasah? Here is how Coid interprets/explains his finding:
“And these [violent/antisocial behaviors] are more common among young men who do not have responsibilities of providing their own accommodation, supporting dependent children, or experiencing beneficial effects on their behaviour from living with a female partner.
“Young men who live at home are also more likely to receive financial support from their parents than in the past when the pattern was reversed. However, in this study their earnings or benefits were the same as those who had left home and taken on greater social responsibility. They therefore had more disposable income which may have partly explained why they had more problems with alcohol.”
So living at home may not be a malevolent social influence as much as it provides a haven for individuals needing a more constructive social environment and role within it.
But we cannot be as confident of the explanatory layer to this finding as we can the data it is based upon. And frankly, the data itself is not all that solid.
An interesting finding; a thought provoking conjecture. I await further research.