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NCJ Number: 237120 Find in a Library
Title: Early Pubertal Timing and Girls' Problem Behavior: Integrating Two Hypotheses
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:40  Issue:10  Dated:October 2011  Pages:1271-1287
Author(s): Hakan Stattin; Margaret Kerr; Therese Skoog
Date Published: October 2011
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Bank of Sweden Tercentary Foundation
Stockholm, Sweden
Swedish Research Council
103 78 Stockholm, Sweden
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: By integrating two theoretical models, the peer-socialization and the contextual-amplification hypotheses, the authors propose a contextual framework for explaining the link between early pubertal timing and external problem behavior in girls.
Abstract: Girls' early pubertal timing has been linked in many studies to behavioral problems such as delinquency and substance use. The theoretical explanations for these links have often involved the girls' peer relationships, but contexts have also been considered important in some explanations. The authors hypothesize that early developing girls engage in unhealthy, dangerous, and risky behavior under contextual conditions that promote access to older friends and opposite-sex relationships. Under other conditions it is less likely. They tested this integrated hypothesis in two studies conducted in Sweden. The first was a cross-sectional study with information about school and free-time friends in a community sample (N = 284). Early pubertal timing was linked to having older, more normbreaking friends outside of school, but not in school, thus suggesting that the school context interferes early-developing girls' selection of older peers. The second study involved both a longitudinal (N = 434) and a cross-sectional sample of girls (N = 634), where the authors examined a leisure setting that is known to attract delinquent youth. Results showed that early pubertal timing was most strongly linked to delinquency for girls who spent time in this context and were heavily involved with boys and peers. In sum, results from both studies supported the authors' predictions that certain contexts would amplify the peer-socialization effect. Overall, the study concludes that the integrated peer-socialization/contextual-amplification model satisfactorily explains the link between pubertal timing and external problem behavior. (Published Abstract)
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Adolescents at risk; Biological influences; Children at risk; Females; Foreign criminal justice research; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Peer influences on behavior; Problem behavior; Social conditions; Social psychology; Socialization; Sweden
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