Purpose: Behavioral problems occur more frequently among adolescents in deprived areas, but most evidence concerns urbanized areas. Our aim was to assess the impact of area deprivation and urbanization on the occurrence and development of behavioral problems among adolescents in a mixed urban and rural area and to examine the contributory factors. Mehtods: We obtained data from the first two waves (n=2,230; mean ages, 11.5 and 13.5 years respectively; response at follow-up, 96.4%) of the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). TRAILS is a prospective study of adolescent mental health in a mixed urban and rural region of the Netherlands. We assessed adolescent behavioral problems using the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the adolescent-reported Youth Self-Report (YSR) and the Antisocial Behavior Scale (ABS). Living areas were categorized into tertiles of deprivation. We further collected data on child temperament, perceived rearing style, parental socioeconomic position (education, income and occupation), family composition, and parental mental health history. Results: At baseline, adolescents living in the most deprived tertile more frequently had elevated behavioral problem scores than those from the least deprived tertile on the CBCL (11.2% against 7.1%), YSR (11.9% against 6.9%), and ASB (11.5% against 7.4%) (all p < .05). Socioeconomic position explained half of the differences due to area deprivation. Other familial and parental characteristics did not significantly contribute to the explanation of observed area differences. Conclusions: As in highly urbanized areas, behavioral problems occur more frequently among adolescents in deprived mixed rural and urban areas. Urbanization has little effect on these area differences.
In a large sample of early adolescents (T2: /N/ = 1007;/ M/ age = 13.50; 50.3% girls), the impact of parental protection and unsupervised wandering on adolescents’ antisocial behavior 2.5 years later was tested in this TRAILS study; gender and parental knowledge were controlled for. In addition, the level of biological maturation and having antisocial friends were included as possible moderators for the relation of parental protection and unsupervised wandering with adolescent antisocial behavior. The negative effect of protection on engagement in antisocial behavior held only for boys and for early-maturing adolescents, whereas the effect of unsupervised wandering was found only for boys and for adolescents who had antisocial friends. The results point to a delicate balance between parental protection and unsupervised wandering with respect to adolescents’ autonomy.
This study uses a social-ecological approach to the development of delinquency. The authors emphasize that a balance between eliminating risk and enhancing protection across domains is essential in reducing problems and promoting competence. The cumulative risk and promotive effects of temperament, family and school factors in preadolescence were examined on different groups of delinquents (based on self-report) in early adolescence. Data from the first two waves of the TRAILS study (N=2,230) were used. The results provide evidence for a compensatory model that assumes main effects of risk and promotive factors on problem behavior. Accumulation of risks in preadolescence promoted being a serious delinquent in early adolescence, with the strongest effects for temperament. Accumulation of promotive effects decreased being a delinquent and supported being a non-delinquent. Furthermore, evidence is found for a counter-balancing effect of cumulative promotive and risk factors. Exposure to more promotive domains in the relative absence of risk domains decreased the percentage of serious delinquents. Our results did not support a protective model. Implications for prevention and intervention are discussed.
In this study a homophily selection hypothesis was tested against a default selection hypothesis, to answer whether preferred and realized friendships of highly aggressive boys differed. In a large peer-nomination sample, we assessed who highly overt aggressive, low prosocial boys (n = 181) nominated as friends (preferred friendships) and who among the nominated friends reciprocated the friendship (realized friendships). These preferred and realized friendships were compared with those of less aggressive (n = 1268) and highly aggressive but also prosocial boys (bi-strategics; n = 55). Results showed that less aggressive boys preferred peers low on aggression, whereas highly aggressive and bi-strategic boys preferred peers not particular high or low on aggression. In line with default selection, highly aggressive boys ended up with aggressive peers even though that was not their preference. In general, received support proved an important determinant of highly aggressive, bi-strategic, and less aggressive boys’ preferred and realized friendships. Especially highly aggressive boys preferred emotionally supportive friends, but ended up with the least supportive peers. In sum, for friendships of highly overt aggressive boys, the evidence favors default selection over homophily selection.
The relation between partying and antisocial behavior was investigated using a sample of Dutch early adolescents (T2: N = 1,076; M age = 13.52). Antisocial behavior was divided into rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. Using a goal-framing approach, it was argued that the relation of partying to antisocial behavior depends on the way the need to belong is realized. Girls, in early adolescence often physically more mature than boys, are likely to seek older and, thus, often more antisocial boys for partying. Unpopular adolescents are likely to be among themselves when partying, and their feeling of exclusion is likely to lead to antisocial behavior. The findings show that girls who party are indeed at a greater risk of engaging in antisocial behavior, as are unpopular girls and boys.
Objective: Why is low resting heart rate (HR) associated with antisocial behavior (ASB: aggression and rule-breaking) in adolescence? Theory suggests that personality traits mediate this relationship but differently with age. In the present study this age-effect hypothesis is tested; we expected that the relationship between HR and aggression would be mediated in preadolescence by the personality trait behavioral inhibition, but not by sensation seeking. However, the relationship between HR and rule-breaking in adolescence was predicted to be mediated by sensation seeking, but not by behavioral inhibition. Hypotheses were tested separately for boys and girls. Method: HR in supine position was assessed in TRAILS respondents (N = 1752; 48.5% boys) at age 11. Rule-breaking and aggression at age 16 were assessed with two subscales from the Youth Self Report (YSR) questionnaire. Personality (i.e., sensation seeking and behavioral inhibition) was measured at age 11, 13.5, and 16 with the Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire-Revised (EATQ-R), Behavioral Inhibition System/ Behavioral Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales, or NEO Personality-Index Revised (NEO-PI-R). Results: In boys, lower HR was associated with aggression and rule-breaking in adolescence. The association between HR and rule-breaking was mediated by sensation seeking in adolescence, but not in preadolescence. Girls’ HR was not associated with ASB and no mediating effects were found. Conclusions: Our findings support the age-effect hypothesis in boys’ rule-breaking behavior. This shows that the association between HR and ASB depends on age, gender, and subtype of ASB.
Objective: To examine externalizing behavior problems and cigarette smoking as predictors Of Subsequent cannabis use. Method: Dutch adolescents (N = 1,606; 854 girls and 752 boys) from the TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) ongoing longitudinal study were examined at baseline (ages 10-12 [T1]) and at two follow-up assessments (ages 12-15 [T2] and 15-18 [T3]). The analysis focused on DSM-IV externalizing behavior (conduct, attention deficit hyperactivity, and oppositional) problems at T1, assessed by the Youth Self Report and the Child Behavior Check List, on self-reported ever smoking at T2, and on cannabis use at T3. Results: All associations of parent-rated externalizing behavior problems with cannabis were mediated by earlier smoking. Considering self-reported problems, none of these associations with cannabis were mediated by smoking, except the influence of self-reported conduct problems in girls. Interestingly, even after adjusting for externalizing problems, earlier smoking independently and consistently predicted cannabis use. The adjusted odds ratios for smoking varied in boys from 4.8 to 5.2 (ever) from 10 to 12 (daily) and from 22 to 23 (early-onset) whereas in girls from 4.9 to 5.0, 5.6 to 6.1, and 27 to 28, respectively (p <.001 for all). Conclusions: Our findings challenge the view that externalizing behavior problems directly predict cannabis initiation. Such associations were inconsistent across informants and sexes and were often mediated by earlier smoking. Early smoking onset is a powerful predictor of later cannabis initiation independent of preceding externalizing behavior problems. Although externalizing behavior problems are important as a starting point for substance use trajectories, early-onset smoking Should be identified as an important marker of cannabis use risk.