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01-07-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 7/2015

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 7/2015

Different Slopes for Different Folks: Genetic Influences on Growth in Delinquent Peer Association and Delinquency During Adolescence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 7/2015
Eric J. Connolly, Joseph A. Schwartz, Joseph L. Nedelec, Kevin M. Beaver, J. C. Barnes


An extensive line of research has identified delinquent peer association as a salient environmental risk factor for delinquency, especially during adolescence. While previous research has found moderate-to-strong associations between exposure to delinquent peers and a variety of delinquent behaviors, comparatively less scholarship has focused on the genetic architecture of this association over the course of adolescence. Using a subsample of kinship pairs (N = 2379; 52 % female) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth—Child and Young Adult Supplement (CNLSY), the present study examined the extent to which correlated individual differences in starting levels and developmental growth in delinquent peer pressure and self-reported delinquency were explained by additive genetic and environmental influences. Results from a series of biometric growth models revealed that 37 % of the variance in correlated growth between delinquent peer pressure and self-reported delinquency was explained by additive genetic effects, while nonshared environmental effects accounted for the remaining 63 % of the variance. Implications of these findings for interpreting the nexus between peer effects and adolescent delinquency are discussed.

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