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Comprehensive Investigation of the Role of the Individuals, the Immediate Social Environment, and Neighborhoods in Trajectories of Adolescent Antisocial Behavior, Final Technical Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2012
84 pages
This study analyzed the development of adolescent antisocial behavior (substance abuse and delinquency), using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN).
Assessment of a contextualized launch model of antisocial behavioral trajectories found significant variation in 6-year developmental trajectories in antisocial behavior across individuals and neighborhoods. Substance use, including alcohol use, proved to be an indicator of problem behavior. Positive initial effects for association with antisocial peers suggest that those youth who reported a greater number of such peers engaged in delinquency/substance use at higher initial levels of delinquency or substance use. The self-control measure suggests that a youth's ability to regulate his/her behavior can have immediate and long-term implications. The variation in the trajectories of antisocial behavior across neighborhood is important. The findings seem to support the neighborhood as both a developmental institution and a situational influence on adolescent antisocial behavior. The strong effect of peers on delinquency coupled with the finding that level of exposure to antisocial peers differs across neighborhoods suggests that a portion of the effect might come from the concentration of sources of delinquent peers in these areas. Consequently, youth are subject to early environmental risk that persists over time. In drawing implications from the findings, the author advises that the potential for differential risk/protection relationships by neighborhood should be considered in programming, given some identified differences across cohorts. Ideally this will involve interventions that span different stages of development and reflect varied levels of involvement by formal agencies, with attention to interdependent relationships across risk and protective factors in developmental trends. 8 tables, 5 figures, and 52 references

Date Published: July 1, 2012