Psychology, Department of

 

Date of this Version

2008

Comments

Published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2008) 37: 674–684. doi: 10.1007/s10964-007-9194-2. Copyright 2007, Springer Science+Business Media. Used by permission.

Abstract

The involvement of adolescents with deviant peer groups is one of the strongest proximal correlates to juvenile delinquency and stems from a variety of causes. Past research has linked ineffective parenting with peer variables, including deviant peer group involvement and peer conflict during adolescence. In this study, adolescents’ appraisals of procedural justice within the family (adolescents’ appraisals of how fairly they are treated by parents in the process of resolving family conflict) were examined as one aspect of effective parenting that may relate to deviant peer group involvement in early adolescence. Data from 1660 middle school students (ages 11-14, mean = 12.6) indicated that higher appraisals by adolescents of procedural justice during family conflict resolution were related to lower levels of both peer conflict and deviant peer group involvement. A structural model was tested in which the relationship between adolescents’ appraisals of procedural justice in the family and deviant peer group involvement was partially mediated by measures of peer conflict. This model was found to have adequate fit to the data, indicating that part of the relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement can be explained by levels of peer conflict. Implications of these findings are discussed.