Methods: A series of latent transition analyses were used to analyze data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997. The analytic sample included 3578 participants aged 12 & 13 when data collection began. Prior to conducting analyses, peer interaction was categorized as no SDB, Status only SDB & Serious SDB, while twelve indicators of SDB measured at four timepoints were used to conduct the study (t [age 12 & 13; Wave 1], t+1 [age 13-14 & 14-15; Wave 2&3], t+2 [age 15-16 & 16-17; Wave 4&5], and t+3 [age 17-18 & 18-19; Wave 6&7]).
Results: Results suggest four latent statuses of SDB manifest during adolescent development period: Minimal SDB, Primarily Status Offense SDB, Moderate SDB, and Severe SBD, where members of Moderate and Severe statuses are most likely to participate in behaviors that victimize others and the community. Additionally, AY peer interaction with No SDB peers were more likely to be in the Minimal SDB Status as compared to all other statuses, while AY with Serious SDB peers were more likely to be in Moderate SDB or Severe SBD statuses. AY with No SDB and Status SDB peers were very unlikely to transition to the Severe SDB status during any point of adolescence, while AY with Serious SDB peers participated in harmful SDB primarily during ages 12-15. Overall, AY were most likely to escalate SDB participation by harm and frequency from t to t+1, and then gradually desist despite peer interactions. Female interactions with Serious SDB peers were associated with higher probabilities of attacking others as compared to males, while males had higher probabilities of selling drugs as compared to females when interacting with Serious SDB peers.
Implications: This study extends knowledge about how AY participate in SDB differently across the adolescent development period as a result of interacting with peers. Specifically, this study suggests that specific types of peer behaviors impact AY participation in SDB differently by type and sex of the youth, during different ages of adolescence. Implications for intervention and policy are discussed.