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Publication

Test of problem behavior theory with high-risk adolescents and young adults: Effects of peer delinquency, peer attachment, and peer involvement

Gillaspy, Stephen Ross
Abstract
Scope and Method of Study: Utilizing the results garnered from theoretical frameworks of problem behavior theory, primary socialization theory, control theory, and attachment theory, the current study had three aims. First, the study sought to replicate the findings of past research focusing on problem behavior, specifically that delinquent behavior, marijuana use, and sexual risk-taking behavior form a single factor representing problem behavior. Second, the study examined the effects of peer delinquency on problem behavior. Third, this study examined gender differences with regard to the influence of peer delinquency, peer involvement, and peer attachment on adolescent problem behavior. One hundred twenty-one adolescents participated by completing a demographics questionnaire, the National Youth Survey-Peer Delinquency Scale (NYS-PD), the National Youth Survey-Delinquency Scale (NYS-DEL), The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), the Scale of Sexual Risk-Taking (SSRT), the Simple Screening Instrument (SSI), and the Marlow- Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS-SF). A series of Hierarchical multiple regression analyzes was used to examine the hypotheses of this study.
Findings and Conclusions: The present study revealed several important findings. First, with a sample of high risk youth, delinquent behavior, marijuana abuse symptoms, and sexual risk-taking did not form a single problem behavior factor. This finding contradicts much of the literature on problem behavior theory and serves to strengthen a small but consistent body of research. Second, peer delinquency was found to be a strong predictor of delinquent behavior, marijuana abuse symptoms, and sexual risk-taking for adolescent/young adults. Third, support was not found for an association between peer attachment and adolescent/young adult delinquent behavior, marijuana abuse symptoms, and sexual risk-taking. Fourth, peer involvement was found to moderate the relationship between peer delinquency and sexual risk-taking. Lastly, peer involvement was not found to moderate the relationship between peer delinquency and delinquent behavior or marijuana abuse symptoms, but was found to be a significant and predictor of delinquent behavior and marijuana abuse symptoms.
Date
2004-12