Anti-Social Behavior in Adolescents Current Essay Is Research Paper

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Anti-Social Behavior in Adolescents

Current essay is a discussion of the antisocial behavior disorder amongst adolescents. The author critically reviewed studies on the topic. The literature suggests that neighborhood and peer holds a great influence as regards antisocial behavior amongst adolescents. Previous research has confirmed socialization experiences outside of the family shape what goes on inside of the family. Also there is possibility that peer and neighborhood characteristics are related to parenting and family relationships. Presence of violence in neighborhood may cause stress among parents resulting in poor parenthood quality.

Neighborhood Influences

Peer Influences

Mediating Effects of Adolescent Antisocial Behavior



Anti-Social Behavior in Adolescents


The importance of socialization contexts outside of the family has been well documented. In particular, neighborhood (e.g., violence, collective efficacy) and peer relationship (e.g., relationship quality, peer deviancy) factors both have been linked to a number of adolescent outcomes, such as self-esteem, academic competence, pro-social behavior, and antisocial behavior (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002; Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 2006). In addition to links to child and adolescent adjustment, there is some preliminary evidence that these socialization experiences outside of the family may shape what goes on inside of the family (Kramer & Kowal, 2005; Laird, Criss, Pettit, Bates, & Dodge, 2009). That is, peer and neighborhood characteristics may be related to parenting and family relationships. For example, disadvantaged and dangerous neighborhood quality has been linked to poor parenting in families (Capaldi, DeGarmo, Patterson, & Forgatch, 2002; Simons, Johnson, Beaman, Conger, & Whitbeck, 1996).

The current essay is aimed at exploring the moethodological approaches discussed in literature for anti-social behavior disorder amonghst adolscents. In particular the paper will focus on the link between neighborhood and peer behavior with adolescents' antisocial behavior.

Research studies have shown that youth learn certain skills and behaviors within the family context that are then carried into peer relationships (Criss, Shaw, Moilanen, Hitchings, & Ingoldsby, 2009). It also has been found that some skills and behaviors are learned within peer experiences and spillover into the family, in addition, possible reasons for why extra familial socialization experiences influence family factors.

Neighborhood Influences

According to Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory (1979), child and adolescent development depends on many levels of context, including neighborhood, family, and school characteristics. Neighborhood qualities, which are located on the mesosystem in Bronfenbrenner's model, are hypothesized to influence children both directly and indirectly, though the direct influences are thought to increase with age (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002). Neighborhoods are thought to directly influence children through their exposure to the behavior and attitudes of adults and peers in the surrounding community (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002). For instance, children may witness shootings or physical violence in the streets while walking to school. Indirect effects are thought to exist through the influence that neighborhoods have on parents. For example, living in dangerous and violent neighborhoods may increase parental daily stressors and, in turn, influence the quality of parenting in the home. The Ecological Framework does not only focus on the direct associations between these extra familial factors and individual development. The individual, family, and many other contexts are thought to influence each other. For example, a family's financial situation may lead them to live in less affluent neighborhoods, and the violence in the neighborhood may shape a child's behavior in a negative manner.

Researchers examining the impact of neighborhood characteristics on family and parenting factors typically have assessed individual- and community-level variables using participant reports and/or census data e.g., violence, drug use, collective efficacy (Leventhal, Dupere, & Brooks-Gunn, 2009). This research has demonstrated that parents in dangerous and violent neighborhoods may have fewer resources and social support (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002; Lochman, 2004), more distress and depression (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002; Lochman, 2004; Sampson), and more marital conflict (Lochman, 2004), which can inhibit their ability to positively socialize their children and may disrupt specific dyadic relationships and overall family functioning. The literature seems to support these conclusions. For instance, Laird and associates (2009) found that neighborhood safety at age 10 was positively related to monitoring knowledge scores at ages 12, 14, 15, and 16. Another study found a positive association between negative social climate (e.g., physical and social disorder and fear in the neighborhood) and harsh discipline (O'Brien Caughy, Murray Nettles, & O'Campo, 2008). These findings are consistent with those of Shaw and colleagues (Shaw, Criss, Schonberg, & Beck, 2004) who reported a positive relationship between ecological disadvantage at age 18 and 24 months and mother-child conflict at 60 and 72 months. Barnes and associates (2006) speculated that family conflict (including in the sibling dyad) likely will be elevated in economically deprived neighborhoods. Overall, the previous literature suggests that parenting and parent-child relationship quality may be influenced by neighborhoods quality.

Peer Influences

Mostly studies examining the peer-family link are based on the assertion that the family serves as training ground where children can learn important skills that can be carried over to peer relationships (Criss, 2009; Ladd & Pettit, 2002). However, given that peer relationships serve as important and unique socialization contexts during childhood and adolescence (Criss, Pettit, Bates, Dodge, & Lapp, 2002; Ladd, 1999; Lansford, Criss, Pettit, Dodge, & Bates, 2003). Snyder (2002) speculated that the process whereby children learn specific positive or negative skills and behaviors during peer interactions may occur in three ways. First, peers may serve as role models, so that youth may imitate their friends' behaviors, such as aggression or substance use. In addition, peers may reinforce certain behaviors or skills using positive or negative reactions (e.g., laughing, getting angry). Dishion, Spracklen, Andrews, & Patterson (1996) called the negative form of this phenomenon deviancy training, in which antisocial behaviors are positively reinforced by peers. Last, through a coercive cycle, analogous to the social coercion processes that occur in high-risk families (Patterson, 2002), youth and their peers may engage in interactions in which there is an escalation of negative affect (e.g., anger) and intensity of violence that is contingent on each others' actions and reactions.

While the exact process of peer socialization may vary from person to person, there is some very preliminary evidence from the literature that suggests that experiences in peer relationships may influence what goes on in the family. In a cross-sectional study of nine- and 10-year-old boys' peer and family relations, poor peer relationships were found to be significantly related to negative parenting (Dishion, 1990). Laird and colleagues reported that high levels of peer antisocial behavior at ages 12-15 were significantly related to low levels of monitoring knowledge at ages 13-16 (Laird, Criss, Pettit, Bates, Dodge, 2008; Laird et al., 2009). In another longitudinal study examining sibling relationships of first-born children, Kramer and Kowal (2005) found that more positive play with a friend during the last trimester of mother's pregnancy was associated with higher levels of positive sibling interaction in adolescence. In conclusion, preliminary evidence supports the idea that peer relationships may influence both parenting and family relationships.

Mediating Effects of Adolescent Antisocial Behavior

Adolescent antisocial behavior may be a "skill" or behavior that is learned in extra familial socialization experiences and carried over into the home (Ladd & Pettit, 2002). In other words, adolescent antisocial behavior may mediate or explain the link between neighborhood danger and peer antisocial behavior and positive parenting and family relationships.

There is some preliminary evidence in the literature that adolescent antisocial behavior may serve as a mediator in the links between peer and neighborhood factors and parenting and family relationships. For example, studies have demonstrated a positive link between neighborhood violence and adolescent deviant behavior. Because violence tends to be more prominent in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, adolescents in these areas tend to have fewer positive role models, be exposed to more criminal activity, become desensitized to violent behavior, learn negative coping strategies, and have fewer resources to aid in their healthy development (Ingoldsby & Shaw, 2002). Research has supported this idea. For example, Haynie, Silver, and Teasdale (2006) conducted a study using a sample of adolescents in grades seven through 12 and found that neighborhood disadvantage was positively related to adolescent violent behavior. Another study focusing on the influence of community violence on behavior problems concluded that exposure to violence in the community was positively related to early behavior problems (e.g., externalizing behaviors such as aggression and destruction and internalizing behaviors such as anxiety and social withdrawal; Linares, et al., 2001). In sum, the literature suggests that neighborhood violence and dangerousness is positively related with antisocial behavior in adolescence.

Significant positive associations between peer antisocial behavior and later adolescent antisocial behavior have been found in previous studies. For instance, Fergusson, Swain-Campbell, and Horwood (2002) found that deviant peer affiliation was positively related to violent crime and property crime in boys ages 14 to 21. Friends' antisocialist (individual scores at ages 13, 14, 15, and 16) also was revealed to be positively related to later delinquent behavior (individual scores at ages 14, 15, and 16) in a study conducted by Laird, (2008). These results are consistent with Chapple (2005) and Simons…

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