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Children's disruptiveness, peer rejection, friends' deviancy, and delinquent behaviors: A process-oriented approach

  • FRANK VITARO (a1), SARA PEDERSEN (a1) and MARA BRENDGEN (a2)

Abstract

This study examined whether peer rejection and affiliation with deviant friends throughout childhood could mediate the link between early disruptiveness and two aspects of delinquent behaviors (i.e., violence and substance use) in a sample of 375 children. Furthermore, we tested whether the two putative mediators operated in a sequential manner or in a parallel manner. Participants' disruptiveness, peer rejection, and friends' deviancy were assessed throughout childhood (ages 7 to 13). Delinquency-related outcomes were assessed at ages 14 and 15 years. Results indicate that the sequential mediational model was supported when delinquency-related violence was the outcome, but not when substance use was the outcome. The discussion stresses the differential role of peer rejection and affiliation with deviant friends in regard to the two outcomes considered in this study and in regard to the time frame when they were measured.This research was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We thank the authorities and directors of schools in the Val d'Or School Board as well as the teachers and children for their first-rate collaboration.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Frank Vitaro, GRIP, University of Montreal, 3050, Edouard-Montpetit, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J7, Canada; E-mail: frank.vitaro@umontreal.ca

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