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01-06-2010 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 6/2010

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 6/2010

Interpersonal Relationships and the Development of Behavior Problems in Adolescents in Urban Schools: A Longitudinal Study

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 6/2010
Marjorie Montague, Wendy Cavendish, Craig Enders, Samantha Dietz


The purpose of this study was to investigate the trajectories of behavioral problems for a sample of predominately minority adolescents (n = 212, 91% African-American and/or Hispanic, 45% boys, 55% girls) in a large, urban school district and to determine the impact of parental and peer relationships, gender, and risk status on their development during middle and high school. Multi-level growth modeling was the primary statistical procedure used to track internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems across time. Results indicated that behavioral problems as rated by students’ teachers declined significantly for both boys and girls, a finding that is in direct contrast to previous studies of adolescent behavior. The quality of parental relationships was a strong predictor of both types of behavior whereas the quality of peer relationships predicted only internalizing behavioral symptoms. These findings suggest that behavioral trajectories may be somewhat unique for this population underscoring the need for additional research in this area. The findings also have implications for intervening with children and youth who display behavioral problems during critical developmental periods.

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