Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Youth Peer Interactions & Socially Deviant Behavior: A Study of Adolescence (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

22P (see Poster Gallery) Youth Peer Interactions & Socially Deviant Behavior: A Study of Adolescence

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Raymond Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, Concord University, Athens, WV
Background: Research suggests that most adolescent youth (AY) will engage in socially deviant behavior (SDB) beginning at ages 10-14, peak in rate of participation at 16-17, and desist thereafter. Although most AY will participate in some form of SDB, research also suggests that AY interaction with peers often predicts how youth participate in SDB. Some AY will choose to associate with peers specifically because of perceived SDB participation and these types of interactions are more often associated with life-course persistent offenders. Other AY will emulate peer SDB because of perceived independence from adult function and oversight, and these types of interactions are often associated with adolescent limited offenders. Because research suggests that AY will participate in SDB differently as a result of interactions with peers, describing how and when peer interaction influences participation in SDB throughout adolescence is important to understanding and limiting harm to self, others and the community.

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.