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Title:Peer and school externalizing behaviors among early adolescents: an ecological systems analysis
Author(s):Hong, Jun
Director of Research:Eamon, Mary K.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Eamon, Mary K.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Espelage, Dorothy L.; Korr, Wynne S.; Ryan, Joseph P.
Department / Program:School of Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):early adolescents
externalizing behavior
peer
school
youth
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to examine ecological level correlates of peer and school externalizing behaviors among early adolescents (ages 12-14). The current research addressed the following hypotheses for the direct effects: learning problems, poverty, and peer and school externalizing behaviors at Time 1 (socio-demographics); negative peer influence (microsystem); living in a central city, compared with other urban and rural residence (exosystem); and lack of school rules (macrosystem) will be associated with an increase in peer and school externalizing behaviors at Time 2. Cognitive stimulation and emotional support, teacher involvement, and ease of making friends (microsystem), neighborhood safety (exosystem), and religious involvement (macrosystem) will be associated with a later decrease in peer and school externalizing behaviors. This study also tested several moderators. Positive teacher-student relationships will be associated with a decrease in peer and school externalizing behaviors more for Black and Hispanic youth than for white youth. Additionally, positive parenting (cognitive stimulation and emotional support) will be associated with a decrease in peer and school externalizing behaviors more for Black and Hispanic youth than for white youth. Moreover teacher involvement and ease of making friends will buffer the effects of having learning problems on exhibiting peer and school externalizing behaviors. Finally, I hypothesized that negative peer influence and neighborhood safety will mediate the effects of poverty status on peer and school externalizing behaviors. To address these hypotheses, secondary data analysis was conducted, using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The sample was drawn from the mother-child dataset, which included youth who in the first of two years, 2002 or 2004 (Time 1), were living with their mothers, enrolled in regular school, responded to at least one of the 13 items from the self-administered survey, and the mothers responded to at least one of the four items measuring peer and school externalizing behaviors in Time 1 and Time 2 (in 2004 for those entering the sample in 2002; in 2006 for those entering the sample for 2004). Multivariate hierarchical logistic regression model were estimated to address the hypotheses. Findings from the study indicate that youth’s learning problems and peer externalizing behavior at Time 1 were significantly associated with peer externalizing behavior at Time 2. When the microsystem variables were included in Model 2, ease of making friends was statistically significant. When the exosystem variables were added in Model 3, the neighborhood environment variables were all statistically significant, but none of the macrosystem variables were significant when added to Model 4. Concerning school externalizing behavior at Time 2, male gender and school externalizing behavior at Time 1 were statistically significant, and two microsystem variables--cognitive stimulation and negative peer influence--were significantly associated with school externalizing behavior at Time 2. None of the exosystem and macrosystem variables were associated with school externalizing behavior at Time 2. With regards to the moderators, I found that for Hispanics, higher levels of cognitive stimulation was associated with an increased risk of exhibiting school externalizing behavior, although the odds ratio indicated little practical significance. I also found that ease of making friends also moderated the effects of learning problems on school externalizing behavior at Time 2. With regards to the mediators, since no direct relationship between poverty and peer and school externalizing behaviors at Time 2 was found, no further tests for mediation were conducted. Findings from this study have implications for research, practice, and policy. Based on the findings, suggestions are made to assess and target the ecological systems levels, which can improve early adolescents’ peer and externalizing behaviors.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/45539
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Jun Hong
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
2015-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08


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