<%BANNER%>

Family Justice Appraisals and Involvement with Deviant Peers among Adolescents

HIDE
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Method
 Results
 Discussion
 References
 Biographical sketch
 

PAGE 1

FAMILY JUSTICE APPRAISALS AND IN VOLVEMENT WITH DEVIANT PEERS AMONG ADOLESCENTS By JENNIFER STUART A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

PAGE 2

Copyright 2006 by Jennifer Stuart

PAGE 3

iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Mark Fondacaro, for his constant support and encouragement. I would also like to tha nk Dr. Ken Rice and Dr. Scott Miller for sharing their ideas and expertise while serving on my supervisory committee. I thank the many researchers who assisted in the design a nd implementation of the National Middle School Survey and the students who participated. Fi nally, I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me through this process.

PAGE 4

iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi FIGURE LIST...................................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Patterns of Juvenile Delinquency.................................................................................2 Risk Factors..................................................................................................................3 Deviant Peer Group Involvement.................................................................................4 Peer Rejection...............................................................................................................6 Parenting Practices........................................................................................................9 Procedural Justice.......................................................................................................11 Models of Delinque ncy Development........................................................................15 National Middle School Survey..................................................................................17 Present Study..............................................................................................................17 2 METHOD...................................................................................................................19 Participants.................................................................................................................19 Materials.....................................................................................................................20 Family Decision Making Questionnaire..............................................................20 Life Stressors and Social Resour ces Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y)................21 Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale............................................................21 Procedure....................................................................................................................21 3 RESULTS...................................................................................................................23 Exploratory Factor Analysis.......................................................................................23 Regression...................................................................................................................24 Mediation....................................................................................................................25 Moderation..................................................................................................................26

PAGE 5

v 4 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................29 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................34 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................38

PAGE 6

vi LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Participant characteristics.........................................................................................22 3-1 Factor loadings for positively worded procedural justice items..............................28

PAGE 7

vii FIGURE Figure page 3-1 Peer conflict partially mediated the re lationship between procedural justice appraisals and associati on with deviant peers..........................................................28

PAGE 8

viii Abstract of Thesis Presente d to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science FAMILY JUSTICE APPRAISALS AND IN VOLVEMENT WITH DEVIANT PEERS AMONG ADOLESCENTS By Jennifer Stuart August 2006 Chair: Mark Fondacaro Major Department: Psychology Association with deviant peer groups is one of the stronge st proximal correlates to juvenile delinquency and stems from a variety of causes. Parenting skills and parenting styles have been identified as factors related to later associat ion with deviant peer groups. In this study, procedural justi ce within the family (the way an individual is treated during the process of resolving a conflic t) was examined as one aspect of effective parenting that may affect early adolescents association with deviant peers. A s hortened version of the Family Decision Making Questionnaire was factor analyzed, yi elding a one factor solution. A series of regressions then showed that higher scores on the procedural justice measure were related to lower levels of asso ciation with deviant peers, and that this relationship was partially mediated by measures of peer conflict. Im plications of these findings are discussed.

PAGE 9

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Juvenile delinquency, defined as any beha vior committed by a juvenile that is outside the realm of parental authority and is therefore subject to legal action, has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. In 2002, 2,261,000 juveniles were arrested. Ninety-two thousand, one hundred sixt y of these were for violent crime, such as aggravated assault, rape, and homicide. Th ese figures indicate that juveniles accounted for 17% of all arrests and 15% of violent cr ime arrests during the year (Snyder, 2004). Data from the 1997 Longitudinal Youth Surv ey indicate that 25% of youth ages 14 and 15 had used marijuana in the past month and 52% of youth in this age range had used alcohol. Additionally, 3% of youth ages 12 to 16 had carried a handgun in the previous month. These rates of prevalence were sim ilar for both urban and rural youth. While the juvenile share of crime has been decreasing since the early 1990s, these numbers still provide cause for concern. While criminal behavior is not limited to juveniles, it is juvenile delinquency that often seems most alarming to the general public. This is most likely because the majority of criminal offenders are, in fact teenager s. Studies of young boys have shown that the majority of individuals who ever become de linquent first exhibit such behavior during adolescence. However, by age 28, about 85% of former delinquents have stopped offending. This is consistent with data s howing that official rates of crime increase rapidly during adolescence and peak sharply around age 17 (Moffitt, 1993).

PAGE 10

2 Patterns of Juvenile Delinquency Research on juvenile delinquency has result ed in the conceptua lization of two main types of delinquency: adolescence-limited and life-course persistent (Moffitt 1993). Lifecourse persistent delinquency is found in a bout 5-6% of individua ls. People in this category display difficult and sometimes antisocial temperaments at three to five years of age or younger (Henry, Caspi, Moffitt, & Silva, 1996). The chronic antisocial childhood behavior of this small group of indi viduals is a strong pred ictor of both violent and nonviolent offending, especially for boys (Bro idy et al., 2003). Children who fit this sub-type often show characteristics of attent ion deficit disorder as well as abnormally high levels of aggression during the pres chool years (Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1998). These individuals often begin comm itting deviant acts at a young age and this activity persists well in to adulthood. Research has indicate d that this beha vior is closely tied to early childhood temperament. The second sub-type, adoles cent-limited delinqu ency, shows a vastly different pattern of development. Those who enga ge in adolescent-limited delinquency do not necessarily engage in acting-out behavior at an early age. People in this category usually exhibit fairly normal childhood behavior a nd begin committing deviant acts around age 11 or 12. The frequency and severity of this behavior peaks around age 16 or 17 and then diminishes by young adulthood. Unlike life-cour se persistent deli nquency, adolescentlimited delinquency is alarmingly common and has sometimes been described as normal. Estimates vary, but about one thir d of adolescent males are thought to engage in some form of delinquent behavior (Moffitt, 1993). Adolescents who exhibit this type of delinquency seem to have some flexibility in their behavior patte rns. They can adapt their behavior and act in so cially appropriate ways when reinforcement contingencies

PAGE 11

3 dictate. Thus, it is thought that this behavior pattern is a resu lt of social influences rather than biological factors. Following the rationale that it is the life-course persistent adolescents who commit the most serious offenses, it could be a ssumed that those who begin offending during adolescence engage in less seve re behavior than those who begin offending earlier. In a review of the literature on the development of juve nile aggression, Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber (1998) concluded that that was not necessarily the case. Instead, later onset offenders may show similar characterist ics at the time of arrest but differ only in their past history. Despite the possible a ppearance of having a less severe problem, individuals who start offending during adolescence e qual their life-course persistent peers in both the variety of laws broken and number of appearances in juvenile court by age 15. Risk Factors A plethora of risk factors have been id entified for the development of juvenile delinquency, including residence in lo w SES neighborhoods (Stouthamer-Loeber, Loeber, Wei, Farrington, & Wikstrom, 2002), lo w levels of parental monitoring (Griffin, Botvin, Scheier, Diaz, & Miller, 2000), low IQ and residential mobility (Hawkins et al., 2000), gender, family structure (Stouthamer-L oeber et al., 2002), and association with delinquent peer groups (Elliott & Menard, 1996; Moffitt, 1993). A review of the research by Hawkins et al. (2000) shows that associati on with deviant peer groups is one of the most well-established risk factors across a vari ety of studies and is the strongest predictor of violent behavior for youth ages 12 to 14. Th is risk factor is of particular interest both because of the large amount of variance it explai ns in delinquent behavior and because of the implications it has for in tervention and prevention.

PAGE 12

4 Deviant Peer Group Involvement During adolescence, individuals begin depending less on their families and more on their peer groups for approval and social valid ation (Fuligni, Eccles, Barber, & Clements, 2001). As they get older, adolescents spend increased amounts of unsupervised time with their peers and profess that they consider their friends opinions to be as important or more important than their pa rents opinions on some issues (Fuligni et al). Given this opportunity for social influence, it is not surprising that st udies have consistently found association with deviant peer groups to be a strong predic tor of delinquent behavior during adolescence (Hawkins et al., 2000). Elliott, Huiz inga, and Ageton (1985) found that adolescents who were members of deviant peer groups were more likely to engage in delinquency, regardless of the presence of absence of other risk factors. The link between deviant peer groups and delinquent behavior is not new. Linden and Hackler (1973) studied adoles cents attachment to conven tional peers, deviant peers, and parents. Those with high levels of bondi ng to delinquent peers had the highest rates of self-reported delinquency. Th e impact delinquent friends had on adolescents behavior was influenced by the level of bonding to parents and conventional peers. Those adolescents with high levels of bonding to pa rents and conventional peer groups reported lower levels of delinquent behavi or than others. This eviden ce stresses the importance of both peer group selection and family dynamics in predicting later delinquent behavior. More recently, Fuligni et al. (2001) examined the relationship between peer orientation, type of peer group, family c ohesion, problem behaviors, and academic achievement. They found that youth with more extreme peer gr oup orientations (those who viewed their friends as more valuable sources of informati on and validation than their parents) reported higher levels of de viant behavior. This effect was largely

PAGE 13

5 determined by the type of peer group involved, with deviant peer groups adding substantially to the levels of deviant behavior. More sp ecifically, the proportion of adolescents friends who consumed alcohol used drugs, and skipped class strongly predicted problem behaviors. In line w ith that finding, Dishion and Owen (2002) found that the tendency to cluster in peer groups that used substances was the strongest proximal correlate of ad olescent substance use. This relationship between p eer group orientation and de viant behavior is crucial because peer groups are in a state of constant fluctuation during adolescence. In general, adolescents move from belonging mainly to prosocial groups early in adolescence to interacting with more deviant peer groups later in adolescen ce (Elliott & Menard, 1996). This fluctuation typically ends in early adulthood, when individuals begin forming families and the peer group loses some of its influence. The unique contribution of deviant peer group membership during a dolescence is supported by a summary of literature by Hawkins et al. ( 2000), who found that having anti social peers was a strong predictor of violent behavior for youth ages 12 to 14, but a relatively weak predictor during childhood. There are a variety of possible explanati ons for the relationship between deviant peers and deviant behavior. Many assume a dolescents who engage in deviant behavior seek out others who engage in similar behavi or. The idea that birds of a feather flock together fits well with American societys views of personal cont rol and responsibility and, on the surface, makes a lot of intuitive se nse. According to this common sense view, it is the delinquent behavior that precedes and may even cause this association with deviant peers. While this hypothesis has drawn some correlational support, the opposite

PAGE 14

6 interpretation is more likely to be true. Elliott and Menard (1996) found that association with deviant peers precedes the onset of delinque nt behavior in most cases. This pattern is especially strong when serious offenses are involved. Index offenses (those serious offenses that would be illegal regardless of the offenders age) almost never occur before an individual has begun associa ting with deviant peers. Once an adolescent begins associating with deviant peer groups, attitudes toward delinquent behavior are strength ened and delinquent behavior is reinforced (Elliott et al., 1985; Patterson, Dishion, & Yoerger, 2000; Pa tterson, Forgatch, Yoerger, & Stoolmiller, 1998). This phenomenon is known as devian cy training and its effects have been examined from a variety of perspectives. Patterson et al. (2000) found that delinquency training was the mediating factor between early involvement with de viant peers and later delinquent behavior. Of the adolescents who associated with devi ant peer groups, those whose peers expressed more positive attit udes toward delinquency and provided more support for such behavior ultimately engage d in higher levels of delinquency. In a comprehensive review of relevant studies, Thornberry and Krohn (1997) concluded that deviant peer group involvement did have a we ll-established direct influence on deviant behavior. Furthermore, this relationship appear s to be bidirectional. Once an adolescent begins associating with devian t peers, deviant behavior is strengthened and the adolescent is more likely to associate with deviant p eers in the future. This sets in motion a downward spiral that makes it difficult to intervene without pr eventing the initial movement toward delinquent peer groups. Peer Rejection Since a convincing body of research indicat es that deviant peer group involvement is likely a cause and a maintain ing factor of delinquent be havior, it is important to

PAGE 15

7 determine the factors that lead to deviant pe er group involvement in the first place. Recent research has targeted early peer reject ion as a motivator for later entrance into deviant peer groups. Longitudinal data from the Oregon Youth Study (Dishion, Patterson, Stoolmiller, & Skinner, 1991) show that rejection by th e conventional peer group is one of the most salient predictors of association with deviant peers. In the study, boys who were rejected at age 10 had higher le vels of contact with deviant peers at age 12, regardless of whether the boys had prev iously displayed antisocial behavior. Similarly, Coie, Lochman, Terry, and Hyman ( 1992) found that both aggressive behavior and peer rejection were significant predictors of disorder in adoles cence. Subsequent analysis revealed that peer rejection had a role in predic ting adolescent adjustment that went above and beyond the effects of the aggr ession that may have caused the rejection in the first place. The role of peer rejecti on in the development of delinquency was also supported by the research of Krueger et al. (1994). In studying the links between personality and crime in adolescents, the authors found that youth who reported participating in the widest variety of criminal behavior also reported low levels of social cohesion and high levels of alie nation. They described them selves as being persecuted by their peers and as lacking interpersonal closeness. The powerful effects of peer rejection can be explained in part by recent social psychological research. Baumeister and Leary (1995) hypothesized that humans are driven by a fundamental need to belong. Re search with adolescents has supported this idea. Brown and Lohr (1987) found that adoles cents who were part of an identifiable social group (even those social groups with relatively low co mparative social status) had higher self-esteem than adoles cents who did not identify w ith any particular social

PAGE 16

8 cluster. Twenge, Baumeister, Tice, & Stuc ke (2001) found that in dividuals who believed they were being rejected by thei r peers were more aggressive in experimental trials than non-rejected participan ts. This manipulation was unexpectedly powerful and resulted in increased aggression toward neutral bystande rs, as well. To explain this set of findings, Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco, and Tw enge (2005) proposed that peer rejection leads to a decrease in self-regula tion. In essence, rejected individuals lose motivation to act in prosocial ways. There are several ways in which peer re jection could fit into the developmental trajectory that leads to association with deviant peers and eventually to delinquent behavior. One possibility is that poor social skills and aggressive a nd antisocial behavior lead to peer rejection in children and adolesce nts, and this rejection is what leads children to associate with deviant peer groups. Dishi on et al. (1991) hypothesi zed that individuals will seek out peer groups that maximize soci al reinforcement for a minimum amount of effort. According to this view, children a nd adolescents whose skills do not allow them to be successful in conven tional peer group will seek out groups in which they are accepted without having to change behaviors. This idea was supported by Cairns, Cairns, Neckerman, Gest, & Gariepy (1988), who used rating scales, inte rviews, and peer nominations to determine social cluster memb ership and overall popularity of aggressive and non-aggressive fourth and seventh graders. They found that aggressive subjects were less popular than non-aggressive subjects but were equally likely to be part of an identifiable social cluster. Aggressive subjects also tended to belong to social clusters with one another rather than being mixed in with conventional peer groups. Aggressive behavior acted as a sorting feature in the friendship selection process (Dishion &

PAGE 17

9 Owen, 2002). This suggests that these aggres sive subjects were possibly rejected from conventional peer groups and had affiliated with one another as a way to maximize social reinforcement. Parenting Practices Lack of success in the conventional peer group has been linked to social skills deficits or aggressive behavior. Research ers have proposed a variety of hypotheses about the origins of childhood aggressive behavior. Tw o of the most frequently cited predictors are the overall level of confict within the fam ily and ineffective discipline practices. The relationship between family conflict and chil dhood adjustment and behavior has gained a great deal of support within the literatur e. Jaycox and Repetti (1993) found that preadolescent children in high conflict families were likely to have poor perceptions of themselves and display externalizing behaviors at home. Further analysis revealed that the level of overall family conflict had an effect on behavior above and beyond the effects of marital discord or aversive parent-child interact ions. The potential sources of family conflict are numerous and include life stressors such as poverty, large family size, and ineffective parenting practices. A growing body of research has linked poor or inconsistent parenting practices with later peer rejecti on (Dishion, 1990; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989; Vuchinich, Bank, and Patterson, 1992). Familie s of children described as antisocial have been found to use harsh and inconsiste nt discipline (Patte rson et al., 1989), while good discipline has been found to have a pos itive impact on childrens peer relations (Vuchinich et al., 1992). This relationship is supported by research by Patterson et al. (1998) who found that disrupted parenting practices accounted for unique variance in childhood antisocial behavior and its continuity into adolescence. Vuchinich et al. found

PAGE 18

10 that ineffective parenting and poor peer relati ons helped maintain one another over time. Correlational evidence suggests that demographic variables and life stressors such as poverty and marital discord are also risk fact ors for peer rejection, but these have been shown to be mediated by the extent to whic h parenting practices are affected (Dishion, 1990; Patterson et al., 1989). Patterson et al (1989) proposed a developmental model of antisocial behavior to explain these relationships. In this model, poor parenting practices lead to conduct problems, th ese conduct problems lead to peer rejection, and peer rejections leads to commitment to devian t peer groups. This model implies that parent/child interactions may be the starting point for the trajec tory that leads to juvenile delinquency. Research has also shown that parenting practices may influence the development of delinquent behavior at various points al ong the trajectory. Even in the presence of other risk factors, effective parenting pr actices have been shown to decrease the likelihood of adolescents engaging in deli nquent acts (Walker-Bar nes & Mason, 2004). In their longitudinal study of ninth grade students, Walker-Barnes and Mason found that while gang involvement was strongly related to delinquency and substance use, parenting variables such as behavioral control and parental warmth weakened the relationship. The impact of the home environment in general, and of parenting skills specifically, is particularly interesting in adolescent populations, as parent-child relationships undergo a period of flux at th at time (Granic, Hollenstein, Dishion, & Patterson, 2003). These relationships are ch aracterized by an increasing variety of exchanges and a greater flexib ility in the reper toire of interacti ons. The amount of flexibility and change peaks around 13 or 14 years of age for boys (Granic et al.).

PAGE 19

11 Research on parenting styles indicates th at authoritative paren ting (characterized by maintenance of clear boundaries between mora l, conventional, and personal issues and the allowance of some degr ee of autonomy on personal is sues) helps alleviate the increased levels of conflict that normally occur during th is period (Smetana, 1995). The effect of parenting style on fa mily functioning increases as adolescents get older and the demand for personal autonomy increases. Consistent with the findings that paren ting factors play an important role in adolescent adjustment, a study of sixth grade students recently found that positive parenting practices, such as parental m onitoring, frequent checking of homework, and eating family meals together were associated with lower levels of delinquent behavior (Griffin et al., 2000). The authors also found th at parenting behavior s affected behavior outcomes differently for boys than for girls. For instance, eating family meals together was associated with lower levels of deli nquency in girls but not in boys. Frequent homework checking was also associated with less aggression in girls but not in boys. These findings suggest that gende r may play a moderating role in the effect of the family environment on behavior during adolescence. Procedural Justice One aspect of the home environment that has recently been tied to adolescent behavior is conflict resolution. In particular, procedural ju stice appraisals have been found to relate to adolescents feelings about their families, their psychosocial functioning, and their levels of deviant behavior (Fondacaro, Dunkle, & Pathak, 1998; Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999). Procedural justice refers to the fairness of the procedures used to reach a decision, as opposed to th e fairness of the decisions outcome. Early work in the area has shown that people care as much or more about how they are treated

PAGE 20

12 in the process of making a decision or resolv ing a conflict than they do about the outcome itself (Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler, 1988). Re search in this area has aimed to discover what aspects of conflict resolution influen ce a persons subjective assessment of fairness (Fondacaro, Jackson, & Luescher, 2002; Levent hal, 1980; Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler & Lind, 1992). A growing body of literature ha s evolved in the field, defining various procedural justice constructs as well as esta blishing their importance in numerous settings (Fondacaro, Jackson, & Luescher, 2002; Levent hal, 1989; Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler & Lind, 1992). The procedural justice literature is rich with theoretical conceptualizations of procedural justice dimensions, but few of these dimensions have been empirically validated until recently. Early theoretical work was conducted by Thibaut and Walker (1975) and emphasized process control and deci sion control. Levent hal (1980) identified six different criteria for a ssessing the fairness of decisi on-making: consistency, bias suppression, accuracy, correctibility, repres entation, and ethicality. In 1989, Tyler proposed a conceptually-based four factor model composed of neutrality, standing, control, and trust. Recently there has been a push toward th e development of a more integrated, comprehensive model of procedural justice. Fondacaro and Jackson began developing the Family Decision Making Questionnaire and the Family Justice Inventory. Using a college student population, Jackson and Fondaca ro (1999) factor-analyzed items from the Family Decision Making Questionnaire to test the possibility of Tylers (1989) four factor model of procedural justice. They instead found three interpretable factors: personal respect, status recognition, and instru mental participation. Personal respect was

PAGE 21

13 defined as the amount of resp ect a person is treated with throughout the decision-making process. Status recognition refers to the way a person is treated relative to the group. Process control refers to the amount of influe nce one is able to ex ert over the decisionmaking process. In a similar study, Fondacar o et al. (2002) identified five distinct procedural justice factors: personal re spect, status recognition, process control, correction, and trust. These f actors have been studied in relationship to individual and family functioning in a number of studies (Fondacaro et al., 1998; Fondacaro et al., 2002). Bronfenbrenners (1979) theory offers an explanation regardi ng the importance of procedural justice in the family context. According to this framework, the ideals and values of the macrosystem (the due process ri ghts of American society) transfer to the microsystem (in this context, the family). People grow to evaluate fairness in their everyday surroundings the same way they would evaluate fairness in the legal system. These ideas make sense in light of behavi oral science research Grusec and Goodnow (1994) discussed several variable s that influence the effectiven ess of parental discipline. Among the variables thought to influence chil drens acceptance of parental discipline techniques were the childs judgment that th e parents actions were appropriate based on the childs misbehavior and the childs j udgment of whether due process had been observed. Acceptance was also influenced by whether the child judged that the parents intervention was well-intentioned. Family functioning has recently been studied in light of procedural justice factors. Fondacaro et al. (2002) found that procedural ju stice constructs were more important than distributive justice constructs in predic ting family functioning. Consistent with

PAGE 22

14 expectations, adolescents cared more about how they were treated in the process of resolving family conflict than they did a bout the final outcome. Procedural justice appraisals were significantly related to levels of family conflict and cohesion. Specifically, personal respect, st atus recognition, and trust pr edicted levels of family conflict. Personal respect, status recognition, correction, a nd trust predicted levels of family cohesion. More generally, those a dolescents from more cohesive families reported being treated as more va lued members of the family. This supports the idea that adolescents especially value the way they are treated in dispute resolution when interacting with in-group memb ers such as their parents. Recent research has focused on the role of procedural justice appraisals in families with adolescents. Diamond-Barroso (2003) st udied the relationship between procedural and distributive justice and family functioni ng in a sample of adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age. Subjecting 54 procedural justice items from the Family Decision Making Questionnaire to princi ple components factor anal ysis resulted in five interpretable factors: process control, neutrality, personal respect, status recognition, and correction. Neutrality, personal respect, and status recognition signi ficantly predicted family conflict while all five procedural ju stice factors significantly predicted family cohesion. Results indicated that adolescents ap praisals of procedural justice were more important than their appraisals of distributive justice in pr edicting family functioning. In addition to its relationship with family functioning, procedural justice has also been linked to deviant behavior (Fondacaro et al., 1998). Fondacaro et al. (1998) studied this relationship within the framework of Ty lers relational model of procedural justice and found that those adolescents who reported unfair treatment within the family also

PAGE 23

15 reported higher levels of deviant behavior. Deviant behavior was significantly associated with less neutral, trustworthy, and respectfu l treatment by parents. Those adolescents who reported being treated more fairly by pa rents engaged in less deviance, even when gender and background variables were controll ed for. Jackson and Fondacaro (1999) explained some of this effect by suggesting th at when decision-making processes are fair adolescents are taught competent conflict reso lution strategies that they can then use outside the family. Models of Delinquency Development Several models have been proposed to e xplain the role of parenting and peer variables in the development of delinquent beha vior. Moffitt (1993) ha s put forth a social mimicry interpretation to explain why indivi duals begin associati ng with deviant peer groups during adolescence. He proposed the existence of a maturity gap during adolescence, created when individuals reach bi ological maturity but are still constrained to childhood roles due to elements of the pres ent social structure. Because individuals reach biological maturity by the early teen years but do not have the legal rights of adulthood until years later, adolescents are forc ed to seek out other ways of asserting their adult status. Because delinquent behavior can be seen as one way of as one way of asserting ones autonomy, adolescents are attr acted to peers and peer groups who are engaging in this seemingly adult-like behavior and achieving adult goals. According to this theory, the delinquent behavior is se lf-reinforcing and tapers off during early adulthood when the costs outweigh the rewards. Along these lines, the attraction of both delinquent peers and delinquent behavior is minimized when adolescents do not experience the maturity gap. This can be accomplished by granting adolescents early access to adult roles.

PAGE 24

16 Another body of research has targeted pa rent/child interactions and early peer rejection as a mediating variable in the de velopment of delinquent behavior. Dishion, Patterson, and Greisler (1994) proposed a coer cion and confluence model to explain the development of deviant behavior. In this model, inconsistent parenting reinforces children for coercive and antisocial behavior. These behaviors then sp ill over into other settings, such as school and peer relationships. This antisoci al behavior inhibits learning and leads to peer rejection. The failing child then selects social settings that maximize reinforcement and new forms of deviant behavi or emerge within the context of these new peer relationships. In contrast to the soci al mimicry interpretation, this model implies that adolescents will be mo re likely to seek out deviant peer groups if they first experience failure in the conven tional peer group. This early peer rejection results in an unfulfilled need for social reinforcement, which adolescents then fill by selecting peer groups that share their aggr essive behaviors or soci al skills deficits. More broadly, the development of deviant behavior and association with deviant peer groups can be understood within th e framework proposed by Bronfenbrenner (1979). According to his theor y, individuals interact with a variety of systems in their daily lives. Microsystems, such as the home and the school, are the settings with which children directly interact. Be havior learned in one microsys tem is often carried over into another. In this case, beha vior learned in the home, in the context of parent-child relationship, is carried over into the school and used in pe er relationships. This causes rejection, which leads to deviant peer gr oup association. The effect of the home environment is accentuated in the case of children and adolescents, as they tend to interact with relatively few systems in their daily lives (Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999).

PAGE 25

17 National Middle School Survey Recently, Miller et al. (2003) develope d and administered a comprehensive, scientifically based survey instrument desi gned to identify individual differences in aggressive behavior and precu rsors to school violence. Various aspects of adolescents experiences were evaluated, including their e xperiences with important adults in their lives, their experiences with multiple forms of aggression, their perceptions of their school environment, their peer relations, and their personal characte ristics. Although the findings of the survey are too numerous to list several findings were relevant to the topic at hand. Procedural justice measures were in cluded in the study. The dimension of personal respect was found to be a significan t predictor of aggres sive behavior, with those adolescents reporting that they were treat ed with the most respect also engaging in the least aggressive behavior (e.g., bullying). Appraisals of proce dural justice did not differ significantly by gender, but overall satis faction with how parents handled family decisions did decrease with age. Adolescents peer relationships were also measured during this study. Consistent with previous findings, those adolescents who reported the highest levels of involvement with deviant peer groups also reported higher levels of bu llying, fighting, and delinquency. This characteristic was also correlated with other undesirable outcomes, such as an unwillingness to report a wea pon brought to school by a classmate. Present Study The present study was designed to assess the use of proce dural justice appraisals within the family context as a predictor of deviant peer group involvement. Using data from the school violence survey administered by Miller et al. (2003) this study explored

PAGE 26

18 the relationships between pro cedural justice, peer conf lict, and deviant peer group involvement. The study was built on the notion th at the way disputes are resolved in the home environment, as measured by adolescents appraisals of procedural justice, has an impact on peer relationships a nd contributes to association wi th deviant peer groups. The specific aims and hypotheses were as follows: 1. This study sought to examine the factor st ructure of the shortened version of the Family Decision Making Questionnaire in a large and diverse sample of middle school students. Because of the explorat ory nature of this analysis, no specific hypotheses could be formed. While it is lik ely that procedural justice remains a multidimensional construct for individuals across the lifespan, it is also possible that it becomes more differentiated with age. 2. Once a factor structure had been estab lished, we aimed to determine whether procedural justice appraisals in the family context could be used to predict levels of association with deviant peers. We predic ted that higher apprai sals of procedural justice would b related to lower leve ls of deviant peer group involvement. 3. The third aim of the study was to determ ine whether peer conflict mediated the relationship between procedural justi ce appraisals and deviant peer group involvement. We predicted that this relationship would be mediated by peer conflict, based on the established relations hips between parenting and peer conflict and between peer conflict and deviant peer group i nvolvement (Dishion et al., 1991; Vuchinich et al., 1992). 4. The fourth aim of the study was to de termine whether the relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement was moderated by gender and age. We predicted that this relationship would be moderated by age and gender based on previous literature showing that the impact of specific parenting practices differs based on gender and that family relationships and their effects on adolescent development change with age (Griffin et al., 2000; Smetana, 1995).

PAGE 27

19 CHAPTER 2 METHOD Participants Three thousand, two hundred and thirty middle school students completed the original survey measure as part of a national study on pe rsonal, school, and family characteristics that underlie indi vidual differences in aggressi ve behavior (Miller et al., 2003). Participants were recr uited from 27 middle schools located in five states: Florida, Texas, California, Connecticut, and New Jers ey. Written parental consent and verbal assent were obtained from a ll participants prior to the beginning of the study. Schools were paid $2 for every completed parental consent form returned. A subset of the data from this survey was used in all analyses related to this study. For the current study, data from participants were excluded if they were outside the traditional age range of middle school students (younger than 11 or older than 14), if they were missing data related to age, gender, or procedural justice que stions, or if they completed fewer than 80% of the items rela ted to deviant peer involvement or peer conflict. The remaining sample consisted of 1660 students who were demographically similar to the original sample. As compared to the original sample, participants in the selected sample were slightly more likely to be female and white, and slightly less likely to be male, Hispanic, and black. The speci fic percentages for each demographic category are listed in Table 1. Even with the select ivity, considerable diversity was maintained with respect to age, gender, and ethnicity. Approximately 65% of the selected sample

PAGE 28

20 was non-white. Furthermore, the selected sa mple did not differ significantly from the nonselected participants on measures of deviant p eer group involvement. Materials The original National Middle School Survey consisted of 228 questions distributed across 14 scales designed to assess experi ence with aggression, experience with important adults, perceptions of the school e nvironment, peer rela tions, and personalityoriented psychosocial characteri stics. Three of the fourteen scales were used in the present study: the Family Decision Making Questionnaire, the Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale, and the Friends as Sources of Stress subscale of the Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y). Family Decision Making Questionnaire The Family Decision Making Questionnaire was developed by Mark Fondacaro to assess adolescents appraisals of procedural justice during family c onflict resolution. The scale used in this study was shortened from the original version and contained sixteen procedural justice items a nd two distributive justice it ems. The measure requires participants to write a descri ption of a recent conflict they have had with their parents, and then rate the extent to which procedur al justice concepts were applied to the situation. The final section of the questionn aire assesses the part icipants satisfaction with the outcome of the situation. Examples of items related to procedural justice include, Your parent(s) treate d you with respect, and Your parent(s) were truthful to you. Responses range from 1 strongly disagr ee, to 5 strongly agree. Cronbachs alpha for this sample was .945.

PAGE 29

21 Life Stressors and Social Resou rces Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y) The Life Stressors and Social Resour ces Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y) was developed by Moos and Moos (1992) and asse sses the stressors and resources in an adolescents life. The Friends as Sources of Stress subscale was used in these analyses (alpha = .82). This subscale assesses how often friends caus e stress in a students life. Items are rated on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 n ever to 5 often. Five items were taken from this measure to form a measure of peer conflict with which to test the mediational hypothesis. Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale This scale assesses the extent to which adolescents friends engage in deviant behaviors. The scale consists of 13 items a nd asks how many of th e participants friends have engaged in various behaviors within th e past year. Examples include cheating on school tests, using drugs, using alcohol, a nd stealing something worth more than $50. Items are rated from 1 none of them to 5 all of them. Cronbachs alpha for this sample was .94. Procedure Participants completed the surveys in va rying sized groups in their regular schools during regularly scheduled class time. School personnel and research assistants administered the surveys and students had be tween 45 minutes and one hour to complete them. The measures relevant to this study were interspersed among other measures as part of a larger survey on school violen ce and individual differe nces in aggressive behavior. After completing several item s of demographic information, respondents answered questions about their schools, weapons repor ting, delinquent activity and aggression, and relationships with signifi cant adults. The Family Decision Making

PAGE 30

22 Questionnaire followed these items. Next part icipants responded to questions related to individual psychosocial functioning. The E lliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale and the two subscales of the LISRES-Y were placed at the end of the survey. The first aim of the study was examined using a series of exploratory factor analyses. Further aims were tested using a se ries of regressions. Fi rst, a linear regression was conducted to determine whether there was a relationship between procedural justice and deviant peer group involveme nt. A series of regressions was conducted to test the mediational hypothesis. Interaction terms were examined to determine whether there was a moderating effect. Table 2-1. Participant characteristics Demographic Category % of original sample n=3220 % of selected sample n=1660 Age 11 13.1 11.3 12 33.1 34.5 13 32.8 34.4 14 19.2 19.8 Gender Male 39.7 38.1* Female 60.3 61.9* Ethnicity Asian 3.6 4.1 Black 19.3 17.3* Hispanic 31.9 30.2* White 31.4 35.4* Native American 2.9 2.4 Multiracial 4.8 4.8 Other 6.1 5.9 Difference is significant at p < .05. ** In the original sample, 1.8% of particip ants reported ages outsi de of this range.

PAGE 31

23 CHAPTER 3 RESULTS Exploratory Factor Analysis Before performing the factor analysis, all negatively coded items in the Family Decision Making Questionnaire were recoded to match the rest of the items. (Lower scores meant lower appraisals of procedur al justice.) Although principle components analysis was used in previous procedural justice studies, principl e components analysis tends to extract one general factor accounti ng for most of the variance and this study aimed to identify multiple dimensions of the underlying construct. Because of this, the sixteen procedural justice items from th e Family Decision Making Questionnaire were first subjected to principle axis factoring w ithout rotation. Before performing the factor analysis, skewness and kurtosis coefficients were obtained for each item of the Family Decision Making Questionnaire. Both skewness and kurtosis were between -2 and 2 for all items. Using Kaisers rule, suggesting the extraction of fact ors with eigenvalues greater than one, two factors were extracted acco unting for 61.1% of the variance. The first factor contained the thirteen positivel y worded items and accounted for 55.7% of the variance. The second factor contained the three negatively worded items and accounted for 5.5% of the variance. Items on this factor showed split loadings with the first factor, producing a factor that was uni nterpretable. Because this solution was so unclear, other potential solutions we re then explored. Because of theoretical work hypothesizing four factors of procedural justice (Tyler, 1989), a second factor analysis was conducted, this time with promax rotation. Four

PAGE 32

24 factors were requested. Even using the more lenient criteria of a .4 loading, the fourth factor contained no significant loadings and the third factor contained only one clear (non-split) loading. Furthermore, all factors were moderately to highly correlated. These results did not support the existen ce of a four factor solution. All analyses containing sixteen items resu lted in the three negatively coded items forming one factor. These three items di d not create an inte rpretable factor. Furthermore, the inclusion of these items resu lted in split loadings among several of the positively coded items. Because of the possi ble method related variance involved with this grouping, another factor analysis was conducted using only the thirteen positively worded items. This time one factor emerge d, accounting for 65.5% of the variance in the model. All items loaded highly on the fact or, as indicated in Table 2. The factor structure was also examined separately fo r each of the largest ethnic groups in the sample: Black, White, and Hispanic. The one f actor solution held across groups. Thus, a one factor model of procedural justice was deemed the most appropriate for the shortened version of the questionnaire used with a mi ddle school sample. Factor scores were computed using the regression method and used as a predictor variable in the subsequent analyses. Regression The obtained factor score from the procedur al justice measure was used to predict total scores on the Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale. The re sulting regression was significant, = -.366, t(1659) = -16.012, p < .001. Procedural justice appraisals accounted for 13.4% of the variance in deviant peer group association.

PAGE 33

25 Mediation Mediation occurs when the relationship be tween two variables can be accounted for by a third variable. For instance, if Variable A is related to Variable B, but the relationship really exists because of an unde rlying relationship between Variable A and Variable C and between Variable C and Variab le B, Variable C is said to mediate the relationship between Variable A and Variab le B. Full mediation occurs when the relationship between Variable A and Variable B no longer ex ists when Variable C is entered into the model. Partial mediation ex ists when the strength of the relationship is significantly reduced but not eliminated. Peer conflict was investigated as a possi ble mediator between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement using four re gression analyses as outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). First, the medi ator was regressed on the independent variable. In this case, peer conflict was regressed on proce dural justice, resulting in a significant relationship, = -.266, t (1659) = -11.232, p < .001. The negative coefficient indicates that higher appraisals of procedural justice were rela ted to lower levels of peer conflict. Next, the dependent variable was regr essed on the mediator. Peer conflict significantly predicted associ ation with deviant peers, = .266, t (1659) = 11.247, p < .001. Higher levels of peer conflict were re lated to higher levels of association with deviant peers. Next, the dependent variable was regresse d on the independent variable. In this case, procedural justice apprai sals significantly predicted a ssociation with deviant peers, = -.366, t (1659) = -16.012, p < .001. Higher levels of proce dural justice were related to lower levels of deviant peer group association.

PAGE 34

26 Finally, the dependent variable is regre ssed on both the independent variable and the mediator to determine whether the effect of the independent variable is reduced when controlling for the mediator and whether the e ffect of the mediator remains significant when controlling for the independe nt variable. In this case the effect of procedural justice on deviant peer group involvement was reduced, = -.318, t (1659) = -13.637, p < .001. Because this relationship is still signi ficantly different from zero, full mediation was not supported. A follow up comparison of the unmediated re gression coefficient and the mediated regression coefficient using the Sobel test was significant, t = -8.038, p < .001, indicating that the inclusion of peer conflict sign ificantly reduced the relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement. To evaluate the significance of the indirect e ffect, the bootstrap method sugge sted by Preacher and Hayes (2004) was used. One thousand bootstrap samples were created, yielding a 95% confidence interval of -.7984 to -.3479. This confidence interval does not contain zero, indicating that the indire ct effect is indeed significant. The result is consistent with the hypothesis of partial mediation. The relationship between pe er conflict an d association with deviant peer groups remained significan t when controlling fo r levels of peer conflict, = .182, t (1659) = 7.804, p < .001. Moderation According to Baron and Kenny (1986), a moderating relationship is found when the relationship between two variab les changes based on levels of a third variable. Another way of stating this is that there is an inte raction effect between th e independent variable and a third variable. The moderation hypothese s for this study were examined by testing the interaction effects of proce dural justice with age and proc edural justice with gender.

PAGE 35

27 The variables of age, gender, and procedural justice appraisals were first centered using the methodology described by Aiken and West (1991). Interaction terms were then created between the centered procedural ju stice term and each of the other centered terms. The possibility of a moderating relationship was first examined with the variable of gender. A simultaneous entry multiple regression was conducted using gender, procedural justice appraisals, and the gender/ procedural justice interaction term. There was a significant main effect of gender, in wh ich boys were more like ly to associate with deviant peers than were girl s. After controlling for the main effects of gender and procedural justice (both significant at p < .001), the interaction term did not explain significant additional variance, = .031, t (1659) = 1.384, p = .167. Because of this, the hypothesis that gender moderates the relationshi p between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group invol vement was not supported. Age was also examined as a possible m oderating variable. A simultaneous entry multiple regression was conducted using age, procedural justice appraisals, and the age/procedural justice interac tion term. There was a signific ant main effect of age, in which older students were more likely to a ssociate with deviant peers than were younger students. After controlling for the main e ffects of age and procedural justice (both significant at p < .001), the interaction term did not explain additional variance, = -.007, t (1659) = -.326, p = .744. Therefore, the hypothesis that age would moderate the relationship between procedural justice appr aisals and deviant p eer group involvement was not supported.

PAGE 36

28 Table 3-1. Factor loadings for positive ly worded procedural justice items Item Factor Loading Your parents handled the situ ation in a good and proper way .874 You trust the way your parent s handled the situation .868 Your parents listened to you .868 Your parents treated you with respect .852 Your parents treated you as if you were someone really important .840 You were treated as a valued member of your family .824 Overall, you were treated fairly .823 Your parents were equally fa ir to everyone involved .818 Your parents were truthful to you .728 Your parents showed a lot of kindness and understanding .779 Your parents cared abou t you as an individual .745 You had the opportunity to presen t your side of the story .728 Any wrong decisions in this situa tion could be easily corrected .692 Extraction method: Principle Axis Factoring Excluded items: Your parents probably gave you less respect than they would have given to other members of the family Your parents did not pay attention to what you had to say Your parents treated you wors e than others because of your personal characteristics Procedural Justice Appraisals Association with Deviant Peers = -.318 = -.266 = .266 for simple regression = -.366 Peer Conflict Figure 3-1: Peer conflict part ially mediated the relationshi p between procedural justice appraisals and associati on with deviant peers.

PAGE 37

29 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to determine whether procedural ju stice appraisals in the family context could predict early adolesce nts association with deviant peer groups, as well as to examine mediati ng and moderating influences. In order to achieve this goal, a measure of procedural justice appraisals had to be critically analyzed. Because previous studies have concluded that procedural justice is a multidimensional construct, with different dimensions related to differe nt outcomes (Fondacaro et al., 2002; Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999), it was hypothesized that a fact or analysis of the current data would also yield multiple factors. Instead, only one interpretable factor was extracted containing the thirteen positively worded items. All items loaded highly on this factor, indicating that it represented a gene ral procedural justice construct. The fact that only one inte rpretable factor emerged can have both methodological and conceptual implications for future studies Methodologically, further research should be done with younger adolescents involving a great er number of procedural justice items. It is possible that the brevity of the curre nt measure could account for the unexpected results. However, since this was the firs t study to examine a large, diverse sample composed exclusively of younger adolescents, it is also possible that these results represent a true age difference in conceptualiz ations of procedural justice and views of what constitutes fairness. Researchers have tied ideals with the fa mily to ideals within our larger society, such as the legal syst em (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999). It is possible that the impact of so cietal ideals increases as children age and

PAGE 38

30 become more acquainted with systems outside th e family. It is also possible that, due to cognitive development, childrens and adoles cents perceptions of procedural justice become more differentiated as they get olde r and develop more advanced categorization abilities. Further research on young adolescents should us e the previously factor analyzed measures, and possibly use college stud ents as controls since the largest body of research has already been done on that populatio n. This would help partition any genuine age effect from simple method variance. After examining the factor st ructure for this measure of procedural justice, factor scores were used as a predictor in a regression model with deviant peer group involvement as the dependent variable. As hypothesized, procedural justice appraisals significantly predicted deviant peer group involvement. As w ith most social phenomena, deviant peer group involvement is expected to have multiple determinants. With this in mind, the 13.4% of the variance explained by pro cedural justice is substantial. This result is consistent with the body of research connecting parenting practices with deviant peer group involvement. The identification of procedural justice as an important aspect of the family environment is consistent w ith the recent procedural justice literature claiming that adolescents place particular im portance on the way they are treated during dispute resolution when interacting with in-group members such as their parents. The hypothesis that peer conflict woul d mediate the relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement was supported by the current study. Peer conflict pa rtially mediated the relationshi p, meaning that some of the relationship between procedural justice appr aisals and deviant p eer group involvement occurs because procedural justice impacts leve ls of peer conflict a nd peer conflict leads

PAGE 39

31 to deviant peer group involvement In this case, lower apprai sals of procedural justice were related to higher levels of peer conflict, which in turn were related to higher levels of deviant peer group involvement This result is consistent with research by Dishion, et al. (1994) suggesting that paren ting practices impact childrens behaviors. Results of the current study support the idea that the way pare nts resolve conflicts wi th their adolescents may in fact relate to the way these adolescents behave in other settings. In turn, this behavior may impact peer relationships. Th ese poor peer relations hips are shown to be related to deviant peer group involvement and de linquent behavior. It is also important to note that there still remained a significant di rect relationship between procedural justice appraisals and association with deviant peer s even after including peer conflict in the model. These findings can have important im plications for intervention and prevention. They indicate that the rela tionships among parenting and peer variables are complex and that the development of delinquent behavi or may involve more than one potential trajectory. While the data from the current study are not sufficient to determine the specific causal mechanisms involved, future research could further illuminate the way conflict resolution is learned within the family and transferred to outside settings. Because of research showing that adoles cents relationships with their parents changed with age and that some parenting pr actices affected girls and boys differently, it was hypothesized that procedural justice might in teract with age and ge nder in its effect on deviant peer group association. However, moderating effects of age and gender were not supported by the current study. The resu lts of the present study indicate that procedural justice is a more robust construc t, affecting early adolescents equally across ages and genders. This is consistent with the conceptualization that adolescents may

PAGE 40

32 learn concepts of justice from outside of the family and appl y these expectations to their interactions with their parents. As with any empirical study, the present research has some limitations. As previously discussed, procedural justice may have been better measured with a more thorough procedural justice questionnaire. Be cause only one factor of procedural justice was identified and used in regression, fi ne-tuned distinctions due to the changing emphasis on certain dimensions could not be stud ied. It is hoped that future research can examine mediating and moderating influen ces with a more fine-tuned measurement instrument. Future studies with a more thorough measurement of this construct could also use more advanced statistical technique s such as structural equation modeling to explore the relationships between the relevant latent variables. The sample for this study, while large a nd diverse, was unrep resentative of the population in a few potentially significant ways For instance, fe male participants outnumbered male participants considerably. This difference is not representative of the schools from which the students came, so the diffe rence is apparently th e result of a selfselection factor. Namely, pare nts of girls may have been mo re willing to consent to the study than parents of boys. The ethnic br eakdown of the sample is also slightly unrepresentative of the population. AsianAmericans, in particular, seem to be underrepresented and Hispanic-Americans seem to be overrepresented. Further research would be required to determine whether these ethnic and cultural differences influenced the generalizability of the study. Finally, the correlational nature of the study makes it impossible to establish a causal relationship between the variables of in terest. However, this study significantly

PAGE 41

33 adds to the existing literature by establishi ng general relationships between the relevant constructs, laying the groundwork for experime ntal manipulation in the future. This study helps define a theoretical ba sis for later work in the area. Even with its limitations, this study fills a gap in previous literature by pinpointing specific facets of the parent/child relationship that may affect the trajectory toward delinquent behavior and by esta blishing preliminary relations hips between parenting and peer variables. This study also streng thens the relationship between two seemingly separate lines of research: delinquency prevention and pro cedural justice and highlights the importance of future study in the area of fa mily conflict resolution. The results of this study are consistent with the theoretical framework linking pa renting behaviors with peer relations and peer relations w ith delinquent behavior. The results of this study confirm previous findings that adolescents care about the perceived fairness of conflict resolution procedures used in the home. Furthermore, when adolescents report that their parents use unfair conflict resolution procedures, they are more likely to also report conflictual peer relationships. Poor relationshi ps with parents and peers in turn increase the likelihood that adolescents will associat e with deviant peer groups and eventually engage in more delinquent behavior.

PAGE 42

34 LIST OF REFERENCES Aiken, L. S. & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinct ion in social psyc hological research: Conceptual, strategic and st atistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182. Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Ciarocc o, N. J., & Twenge, J. M. (2005). Social exclusion impairs self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 589-604. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529. Broidy, L. M., Nagin, D. S., Tremblay, R. E ., Bates, J. E., Brame, B., Dodge, K. A., Fergusson, D., Horwood, J. L., Loeber, R., Laird, R., Lynam, D. R., Moffitt, T. E., Pettit, G. S., & Vitaro, F. (2003). Developmental traject ories of childhood disruptive behaviors and adol escent delinquency: A sixsite, cross-national study. Developmental Psychology, 39, 222-245. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Brown, B. B., & Lohr, M. J. (1987). Peer group affiliation and adolescent self-esteem: An integration of ego-identity and symbolic interaction theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 47-55. Cairns, R. B., Cairns, B. D., Neckerman, H. J ., Gest, S. D., & Gariepy, J. (1998). Social networks and aggressive behavior: Peer support or peer rejection? Developmental Psychology, 24, 815-823. Coie, J. D., Lochman, J.E., Terry, R. & Hy man, C. (1992). Predicting early adolescent disorder from childhood aggr ession and peer rejection. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60 783-792. Diamond-Barroso, A. (2003). Linking procedural and distri butive justice in family decision-making to adolescent and family functioning. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Florida. Dishion, T. J. (1990). The family ecology of boys peer relations in middle childhood. Child Development, 61 874-892.

PAGE 43

35 Dishion, T. J., & Owen, L. D. (2002). A l ongitudinal analysis of friendships and substance use: Bidirectional influe nce from adolescence to adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 38, 480-491. Dishion, T. J., Patterson, G. R., & Griesler, P. C. (1994). Peer adaptations in the development of antisocial behavior: A confluence model. In L. R. Huesmann (Ed), Aggressive behavior: Current perspectives (pp. 61-95). New York: Plenum Press. Dishion, T. J., Patterson, G. R., Stoolmiller, M., & Skinner, M. L. (1991). Family, school, and behavioral antecedents to early adoles cent involvement with antisocial peers. Developmental Psychology, 27, 172-180. Elliott, D. S., Huizinga, D., & Ageton, S. S. (1985). Explaining delinquency and drug use Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Elliott, D. S., & Menard, S. (1996). Delinquent friends and delinquent behavior: Temporal and developmental patterns. In J.D. Hawkins (Ed), Delinquency and crime (pp. 28-67). Cambridge University Press. Fuligni, A. J., Eccles, J. S., Barber, B. L., & Clements, P. (2001). Early adolescent peer orientation and adjustment during high school. Developmental Psychology, 37, 2836. Fondacaro, M. R., Dunkle, M. E., & Pathak, M. K. (1998). Procedural justice in resolving family disputes: A psychosocial analysis of individual and family functioning in late adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 27, 101-119. Fondacaro, M. R., Jackson, S. L., & Luescher J. (2002). Toward the assessment of procedural and distributive justi ce in resolving family disputes. Social Justice Research, 15 341-371. Granic, I., Hollenstein, T., Dishion, T. J ., & Patterson, G. R. (2003). Longitudinal analysis of flexibility an d reorganization in early a dolescence: A dynamic systems study of family interactions. Developmental Psychology, 39, 606-617. Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., Scheier, L. M ., Diaz, T., & Miller, N. L. (2000). Parenting practices as predictors of substance us e, delinquency, and ag gression among urban minority youth: Moderating effects of family structure and gender. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 14, 174-184. Grusec, J. E., & Goodnow, J. J. (1994). Impact of parental discipline methods on the childs internalization of values: A recon ceptualization of current points of view. Developmental Psychology, 30, 4-19. Hawkins, J. D., Herrenkohl, T. I., Farrington, D. P., Brewer, D., Catalano, R. F., Harachi, T. W., & Cothern, L. (2000). Predictors of youth violence. Juvenile Justice Bulletin of the Office of Juvenile Ju stice and Delinquency Prevention, Rockville, MD.

PAGE 44

36 Henry, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Silv a, P. A. (1996). Temperamental and familial predictors of violent and nonviolent criminal conv ictions: Age 3 to age 18. Developmental Psychology, 32, 614-623. Jackson, S., & Fondacaro, M. (1999). Procedural justice in resolving family conflict: Implications for youth violence prevention. Law & Policy, 21, 101-127. Jaycox, L. H., & Repetti, R. L. (1993). C onflict in families and the psychological adjustment of preadolescent children. Journal of Family Psychology, 7, 344-355. Krueger, R. F., Schmutte, P. S., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Campbell, K., & Silva, P. A. (1994). Personality traits are linked to crime among men and women: Evidence from a birth cohort. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 328-338. Leventhal, G. S. (1980). What should be done with equity theory? In K. J. Gergen, M. S. Greenberg, & R. H. Weiss (Eds), Social Exchange: Advances in Theory and Research (pp. 27-53). New York: Plenum Press. Linden, E., & Hackler, J. C. (1973). Affective ties and delinquency. Pacific Sociological Review, 16, 27-46. Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1998). Development of juve nile aggression and violence: Some common miscon ceptions and controversies. American Psychologist, 53, 242-259. Miller, S. A., Fondacaro, M. F., Woolard, J. L., Boggs, S., Brank, E., Cliett, W., et al. (2003). National middle school survey: Sc hool violence and beliefs about self, others, and the future. Final report to U. S. Department of Education. Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100 674-701. Moos, R. H., & Moos, B. S. (1992). Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory Youth Form Manual. Palo Alto, CA: Center for Health CareEvaluation, Stanford University and Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Patterson, G. R., DeBaryshe, B. D., & Rams ey, E. (1989). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist, 44, 329-335. Patterson, G. R., Dishion, T. J., & Yoerger, K. (2000). Adolescent growth in new forms of problem behavior: Macroand micro-peer dynamics. Prevention Science, (1), 313. Patterson, G. R., Forgatch, M. S., Yoerger, K. L., & Stoolmiller, M. (1998). Variables that initiate and maintain an early-o nset trajectory for juvenile offending. Development and Psychopathology, 10 531-547.

PAGE 45

37 Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers 36 717-731. Smetana, J. G. (1995). Parenting styles a nd conceptions of pare ntal authority during adolescence. Child development, 66, 299-316. Snyder, H. N. (2004). Juvenile Justice Bulletin : Juvenile Arrests 2002. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Loeber, R., Wei, E., Farrington, D. P., Wikstrom, P. H. (2002). Risk and promotive effects in the explanat ion of persistent serious delinquency in boys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(1), 111-123. Thibaut, J. W., & Walker, L. (1975) Procedural Justice: A Psychological Analysis. Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ. T hornberry, T. P., & Krohn, M. D. (1997). Peers, drug use, and delinquency. In D. M. Stoff, J. Breiling, & J. D. Maser (Eds), Handbook of Antisocial Behavior (pp. 218-233). John Wiley and Sons, New York. Twenge, J. M., Baumeister, R. F., Tice, D. M., & Stucke, T. S. (2001). If you cant join them, beat them: Effects of soci al exclusion on aggr essive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (8), 1058-1069. Tyler, T. R. (1988). What is procedural jus tice? Criteria used by citizens to assess the fairness of legal procedures. Law & Society Review, 22, 103-135. Tyler, T. R. (1989). The psychology of procedural justic e: A test of the group-value model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57 830-838. Tyler, T. R., & Lind, E. A. (1992). A relationa l model of authority in groups. In M. P. Zanna (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 25), San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Vuchinich, S., Bank, L., & Patterson, G. R. ( 1992). Parenting, peers, and the stability of antisocial behavior in preadolescent boys. Developmental Psychology, 28 510-521. Walker-Barnes, C. J., & Mason, C. A. (2004). Delinquency and substance use among gang-involved youth: The moderati ng role of parenting practices. American Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 235-250.

PAGE 46

38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Stuart was born August 8, 1982, in Springfield, MA. She grew up in Pinellas County, FL, and graduated from Pine llas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in 2000. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Florida Southern College in 2004 with majors in psychology and special e ducation. Jennifer plans to continue graduate study at the Univers ity of Florida in the areas of counseling psychology and law.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0015783/00001

Material Information

Title: Family Justice Appraisals and Involvement with Deviant Peers among Adolescents
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0015783:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0015783/00001

Material Information

Title: Family Justice Appraisals and Involvement with Deviant Peers among Adolescents
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0015783:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
    List of Tables
        Page vi
    List of Figures
        Page vii
    Abstract
        Page viii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Method
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Results
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Discussion
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    References
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Biographical sketch
        Page 38
Full Text












FAMILY JUSTICE APPRAISALS AND INVOLVEMENT WITH DEVIANT PEERS
AMONG ADOLESCENTS














By

JENNIFER STUART


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006





























Copyright 2006

by

Jennifer Stuart















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Mark Fondacaro, for his constant support and

encouragement. I would also like to thank Dr. Ken Rice and Dr. Scott Miller for sharing

their ideas and expertise while serving on my supervisory committee. I thank the many

researchers who assisted in the design and implementation of the National Middle School

Survey and the students who participated. Finally, I would like to thank my family and

friends for supporting me through this process.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ............. ................... .. .......... .................................... vi

F IG U R E L IS T ................................................................................................................... v ii

ABSTRACT .................................................. ................. viii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C T IO N ........ .. ......................................... ..........................................1.

Patterns of Juvenile D delinquency ........................................................2......
R isk Factors ...................................................................................... . 3
D eviant Peer Group Involvem ent .......................................................4......
Peer R ejection ................................................................................ . .................6
Parenting Practices......................... ........... ...............................9
Procedural Justice .................................................................................................. 11
M odels of Delinquency Developm ent.................................................... 15
N national M iddle School Survey............................................................. ............... 17
Present Study .............. ..................................................................... ......17

2 M E T H O D ...................................................................................................................1 9

P participants .............. ....................................................................... . ......19
M ateria ls .......................................... .................................................. ...............2 0
Fam ily D decision M making Q questionnaire .............................................................. 20
Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y).............21
Elliott D eviant A actions by Friends Scale ....................................... ................ 21
P ro c e d u re ................................................................................................................. .. 2 1

3 R E S U L T S ................................................................................................................. .. 2 3

E xploratory F actor A analysis ........................................ ....................... ................ 23
R e g re ssio n ................................................................................................................ .. 2 4
M e d ia tio n ................................................................................................................. ... 2 5
M o d e ra tio n ................................................................................................................ .. 2 6










4 DISCUSSION ........................ ......... ............... 29

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S .... ......................................................................... ................ 34

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH ...................... .............................................................. 38






















































v
















LIST OF TABLES

Table page

2-1 P articipant characteristics......................................... ........................ ................ 22

3-1 Factor loadings for positively worded procedural justice items ..............................28
















FIGURE

Figure page

3-1 Peer conflict partially mediated the relationship between procedural justice
appraisals and association with deviant peers .................................... ................ 28















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

FAMILY JUSTICE APPRAISALS AND INVOLVEMENT WITH DEVIANT PEERS
AMONG ADOLESCENTS

By

Jennifer Stuart

August 2006

Chair: Mark Fondacaro
Major Department: Psychology

Association with deviant peer groups is one of the strongest proximal correlates to

juvenile delinquency and stems from a variety of causes. Parenting skills and parenting

styles have been identified as factors related to later association with deviant peer groups.

In this study, procedural justice within the family (the way an individual is treated during

the process of resolving a conflict) was examined as one aspect of effective parenting that

may affect early adolescents' association with deviant peers. A shortened version of the

Family Decision Making Questionnaire was factor analyzed, yielding a one factor

solution. A series of regressions then showed that higher scores on the procedural justice

measure were related to lower levels of association with deviant peers, and that this

relationship was partially mediated by measures of peer conflict. Implications of these

findings are discussed.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Juvenile delinquency, defined as any behavior committed by a juvenile that is

outside the realm of parental authority and is therefore subject to legal action, has

garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. In 2002, 2,261,000 juveniles were

arrested. Ninety-two thousand, one hundred sixty of these were for violent crime, such as

aggravated assault, rape, and homicide. These figures indicate that juveniles accounted

for 17% of all arrests and 15% of violent crime arrests during the year (Snyder, 2004).

Data from the 1997 Longitudinal Youth Survey indicate that 25% of youth ages 14

and 15 had used marijuana in the past month and 52% of youth in this age range had used

alcohol. Additionally, 3% of youth ages 12 to 16 had carried a handgun in the previous

month. These rates of prevalence were similar for both urban and rural youth. While the

juvenile share of crime has been decreasing since the early 1990's, these numbers still

provide cause for concern.

While criminal behavior is not limited to juveniles, it is juvenile delinquency that

often seems most alarming to the general public. This is most likely because the majority

of criminal offenders are, in fact teenagers. Studies of young boys have shown that the

majority of individuals who ever become delinquent first exhibit such behavior during

adolescence. However, by age 28, about 85% of former delinquents have stopped

offending. This is consistent with data showing that official rates of crime increase

rapidly during adolescence and peak sharply around age 17 (Moffitt, 1993).









Patterns of Juvenile Delinquency

Research on juvenile delinquency has resulted in the conceptualization of two main

types of delinquency: adolescence-limited and life-course persistent (Moffitt 1993). Life-

course persistent delinquency is found in about 5-6% of individuals. People in this

category display difficult and sometimes "antisocial" temperaments at three to five years

of age or younger (Henry, Caspi, Moffitt, & Silva, 1996). The chronic antisocial

childhood behavior of this small group of individuals is a strong predictor of both violent

and nonviolent offending, especially for boys (Broidy et al., 2003). Children who fit this

sub-type often show characteristics of attention deficit disorder as well as abnormally

high levels of aggression during the preschool years (Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber,

1998). These individuals often begin committing deviant acts at a young age and this

activity persists well into adulthood. Research has indicated that this behavior is closely

tied to early childhood temperament.

The second sub-type, adolescent-limited delinquency, shows a vastly different

pattern of development. Those who engage in adolescent-limited delinquency do not

necessarily engage in acting-out behavior at an early age. People in this category usually

exhibit fairly normal childhood behavior and begin committing deviant acts around age

11 or 12. The frequency and severity of this behavior peaks around age 16 or 17 and then

diminishes by young adulthood. Unlike life-course persistent delinquency, adolescent-

limited delinquency is alarmingly common and has sometimes been described as

"normal." Estimates vary, but about one third of adolescent males are thought to engage

in some form of delinquent behavior (Moffitt, 1993). Adolescents who exhibit this type

of delinquency seem to have some flexibility in their behavior patterns. They can adapt

their behavior and act in socially appropriate ways when reinforcement contingencies









dictate. Thus, it is thought that this behavior pattern is a result of social influences rather

than biological factors.

Following the rationale that it is the life-course persistent adolescents who commit

the most serious offenses, it could be assumed that those who begin offending during

adolescence engage in less severe behavior than those who begin offending earlier. In a

review of the literature on the development of juvenile aggression, Loeber and

Stouthamer-Loeber (1998) concluded that that was not necessarily the case. Instead, later

onset offenders may show similar characteristics at the time of arrest but differ only in

their past history. Despite the possible appearance of having a less severe problem,

individuals who start offending during adolescence equal their life-course persistent peers

in both the variety of laws broken and number of appearances in juvenile court by age 15.

Risk Factors

A plethora of risk factors have been identified for the development of juvenile

delinquency, including residence in low SES neighborhoods (Stouthamer-Loeber,

Loeber, Wei, Farrington, & Wikstrom, 2002), low levels of parental monitoring (Griffin,

Botvin, Scheier, Diaz, & Miller, 2000), low IQ and residential mobility (Hawkins et al.,

2000), gender, family structure (Stouthamer-Loeber et al., 2002), and association with

delinquent peer groups (Elliott & Menard, 1996; Moffitt, 1993). A review of the research

by Hawkins et al. (2000) shows that association with deviant peer groups is one of the

most well-established risk factors across a variety of studies and is the strongest predictor

of violent behavior for youth ages 12 to 14. This risk factor is of particular interest both

because of the large amount of variance it explains in delinquent behavior and because of

the implications it has for intervention and prevention.









Deviant Peer Group Involvement

During adolescence, individuals begin depending less on their families and more on

their peer groups for approval and social validation (Fuligni, Eccles, Barber, & Clements,

2001). As they get older, adolescents spend increased amounts of unsupervised time

with their peers and profess that they consider their friends' opinions to be as important

or more important than their parents' opinions on some issues (Fuligni et al). Given this

opportunity for social influence, it is not surprising that studies have consistently found

association with deviant peer groups to be a strong predictor of delinquent behavior

during adolescence (Hawkins et al., 2000). Elliott, Huizinga, and Ageton (1985) found

that adolescents who were members of deviant peer groups were more likely to engage in

delinquency, regardless of the presence of absence of other risk factors.

The link between deviant peer groups and delinquent behavior is not new. Linden

and Hackler (1973) studied adolescents' attachment to conventional peers, deviant peers,

and parents. Those with high levels of bonding to delinquent peers had the highest rates

of self-reported delinquency. The impact delinquent friends had on adolescents' behavior

was influenced by the level of bonding to parents and conventional peers. Those

adolescents with high levels of bonding to parents and conventional peer groups reported

lower levels of delinquent behavior than others. This evidence stresses the importance of

both peer group selection and family dynamics in predicting later delinquent behavior.

More recently, Fuligni et al. (2001) examined the relationship between peer

orientation, type of peer group, family cohesion, problem behaviors, and academic

achievement. They found that youth with more extreme peer group orientations (those

who viewed their friends as more valuable sources of information and validation than

their parents) reported higher levels of deviant behavior. This effect was largely









determined by the type of peer group involved, with deviant peer groups adding

substantially to the levels of deviant behavior. More specifically, the proportion of

adolescents' friends who consumed alcohol, used drugs, and skipped class strongly

predicted problem behaviors. In line with that finding, Dishion and Owen (2002) found

that the tendency to cluster in peer groups that used substances was the strongest

proximal correlate of adolescent substance use.

This relationship between peer group orientation and deviant behavior is crucial

because peer groups are in a state of constant fluctuation during adolescence. In general,

adolescents move from belonging mainly to prosocial groups early in adolescence to

interacting with more deviant peer groups later in adolescence (Elliott & Menard, 1996).

This fluctuation typically ends in early adulthood, when individuals begin forming

families and the peer group loses some of its influence. The unique contribution of

deviant peer group membership during adolescence is supported by a summary of

literature by Hawkins et al. (2000), who found that having antisocial peers was a strong

predictor of violent behavior for youth ages 12 to 14, but a relatively weak predictor

during childhood.

There are a variety of possible explanations for the relationship between deviant

peers and deviant behavior. Many assume adolescents who engage in deviant behavior

seek out others who engage in similar behavior. The idea that "birds of a feather flock

together" fits well with American society's views of personal control and responsibility

and, on the surface, makes a lot of intuitive sense. According to this common sense view,

it is the delinquent behavior that precedes and may even cause this association with

deviant peers. While this hypothesis has drawn some correlational support, the opposite









interpretation is more likely to be true. Elliott and Menard (1996) found that association

with deviant peers precedes the onset of delinquent behavior in most cases. This pattern

is especially strong when serious offenses are involved. Index offenses (those serious

offenses that would be illegal regardless of the offender's age) almost never occur before

an individual has begun associating with deviant peers.

Once an adolescent begins associating with deviant peer groups, attitudes toward

delinquent behavior are strengthened and delinquent behavior is reinforced (Elliott et al.,

1985; Patterson, Dishion, & Yoerger, 2000; Patterson, Forgatch, Yoerger, & Stoolmiller,

1998). This phenomenon is known as deviancy training and its effects have been

examined from a variety of perspectives. Patterson et al. (2000) found that delinquency

training was the mediating factor between early involvement with deviant peers and later

delinquent behavior. Of the adolescents who associated with deviant peer groups, those

whose peers expressed more positive attitudes toward delinquency and provided more

support for such behavior ultimately engaged in higher levels of delinquency. In a

comprehensive review of relevant studies, Thornberry and Krohn (1997) concluded that

deviant peer group involvement did have a well-established direct influence on deviant

behavior. Furthermore, this relationship appears to be bidirectional. Once an adolescent

begins associating with deviant peers, deviant behavior is strengthened and the adolescent

is more likely to associate with deviant peers in the future. This sets in motion a

downward spiral that makes it difficult to intervene without preventing the initial

movement toward delinquent peer groups.

Peer Rejection

Since a convincing body of research indicates that deviant peer group involvement

is likely a cause and a maintaining factor of delinquent behavior, it is important to









determine the factors that lead to deviant peer group involvement in the first place.

Recent research has targeted early peer rejection as a motivator for later entrance into

deviant peer groups. Longitudinal data from the Oregon Youth Study (Dishion,

Patterson, Stoolmiller, & Skinner, 1991) show that rejection by the conventional peer

group is one of the most salient predictors of association with deviant peers. In the study,

boys who were rejected at age 10 had higher levels of contact with deviant peers at age

12, regardless of whether the boys had previously displayed antisocial behavior.

Similarly, Coie, Lochman, Terry, and Hyman (1992) found that both aggressive behavior

and peer rejection were significant predictors of disorder in adolescence. Subsequent

analysis revealed that peer rejection had a role in predicting adolescent adjustment that

went above and beyond the effects of the aggression that may have caused the rejection

in the first place. The role of peer rejection in the development of delinquency was also

supported by the research of Krueger et al. (1994). In studying the links between

personality and crime in adolescents, the authors found that youth who reported

participating in the widest variety of criminal behavior also reported low levels of social

cohesion and high levels of alienation. They described themselves as being persecuted

by their peers and as lacking interpersonal closeness.

The powerful effects of peer rejection can be explained in part by recent social

psychological research. Baumeister and Leary (1995) hypothesized that humans are

driven by a fundamental need to belong. Research with adolescents has supported this

idea. Brown and Lohr (1987) found that adolescents who were part of an identifiable

social group (even those social groups with relatively low comparative social status) had

higher self-esteem than adolescents who did not identify with any particular social









cluster. Twenge, Baumeister, Tice, & Stucke (2001) found that individuals who believed

they were being rejected by their peers were more aggressive in experimental trials than

non-rejected participants. This manipulation was unexpectedly powerful and resulted in

increased aggression toward "neutral" bystanders, as well. To explain this set of

findings, Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco, and Twenge (2005) proposed that peer rejection

leads to a decrease in self-regulation. In essence, rejected individuals lose motivation to

act in prosocial ways.

There are several ways in which peer rejection could fit into the developmental

trajectory that leads to association with deviant peers and eventually to delinquent

behavior. One possibility is that poor social skills and aggressive and antisocial behavior

lead to peer rejection in children and adolescents, and this rejection is what leads children

to associate with deviant peer groups. Dishion et al. (1991) hypothesized that individuals

will seek out peer groups that maximize social reinforcement for a minimum amount of

effort. According to this view, children and adolescents whose skills do not allow them

to be successful in conventional peer group will seek out groups in which they are

accepted without having to change behaviors. This idea was supported by Cairns, Cairns,

Neckerman, Gest, & Gariepy (1988), who used rating scales, interviews, and peer

nominations to determine social cluster membership and overall popularity of aggressive

and non-aggressive fourth and seventh graders. They found that aggressive subjects were

less popular than non-aggressive subjects but were equally likely to be part of an

identifiable social cluster. Aggressive subjects also tended to belong to social clusters

with one another rather than being mixed in with conventional peer groups. Aggressive

behavior acted as a "sorting feature" in the friendship selection process (Dishion &









Owen, 2002). This suggests that these aggressive subjects were possibly rejected from

conventional peer groups and had affiliated with one another as a way to maximize social

reinforcement.

Parenting Practices

Lack of success in the conventional peer group has been linked to social skills

deficits or aggressive behavior. Researchers have proposed a variety of hypotheses about

the origins of childhood aggressive behavior. Two of the most frequently cited predictors

are the overall level of conflict within the family and ineffective discipline practices. The

relationship between family conflict and childhood adjustment and behavior has gained a

great deal of support within the literature. Jaycox and Repetti (1993) found that

preadolescent children in high conflict families were likely to have poor perceptions of

themselves and display externalizing behaviors at home. Further analysis revealed that

the level of overall family conflict had an effect on behavior above and beyond the

effects of marital discord or aversive parent-child interactions. The potential sources of

family conflict are numerous and include life stressors such as poverty, large family size,

and ineffective parenting practices.

A growing body of research has linked poor or inconsistent parenting practices

with later peer rejection (Dishion, 1990; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989;

Vuchinich, Bank, and Patterson, 1992). Families of children described as "antisocial"

have been found to use harsh and inconsistent discipline (Patterson et al., 1989), while

good discipline has been found to have a positive impact on children's peer relations

(Vuchinich et al., 1992). This relationship is supported by research by Patterson et al.

(1998) who found that disrupted parenting practices accounted for unique variance in

childhood antisocial behavior and its continuity into adolescence. Vuchinich et al. found









that ineffective parenting and poor peer relations helped maintain one another over time.

Correlational evidence suggests that demographic variables and life stressors such as

poverty and marital discord are also risk factors for peer rejection, but these have been

shown to be mediated by the extent to which parenting practices are affected (Dishion,

1990; Patterson et al., 1989). Patterson et al. (1989) proposed a developmental model of

antisocial behavior to explain these relationships. In this model, poor parenting practices

lead to conduct problems, these conduct problems lead to peer rejection, and peer

rejections leads to commitment to deviant peer groups. This model implies that

parent/child interactions may be the starting point for the trajectory that leads to juvenile

delinquency.

Research has also shown that parenting practices may influence the development

of delinquent behavior at various points along the trajectory. Even in the presence of

other risk factors, effective parenting practices have been shown to decrease the

likelihood of adolescents engaging in delinquent acts (Walker-Barnes & Mason, 2004).

In their longitudinal study of ninth grade students, Walker-Barnes and Mason found that

while gang involvement was strongly related to delinquency and substance use, parenting

variables such as behavioral control and parental warmth weakened the relationship.

The impact of the home environment in general, and of parenting skills

specifically, is particularly interesting in adolescent populations, as parent-child

relationships undergo a period of flux at that time (Granic, Hollenstein, Dishion, &

Patterson, 2003). These relationships are characterized by an increasing variety of

exchanges and a greater flexibility in the "repertoire" of interactions. The amount of

flexibility and change peaks around 13 or 14 years of age for boys (Granic et al.).









Research on parenting styles indicates that authoritative parenting (characterized by

maintenance of clear boundaries between moral, conventional, and personal issues and

the allowance of some degree of autonomy on personal issues) helps alleviate the

increased levels of conflict that normally occur during this period (Smetana, 1995). The

effect of parenting style on family functioning increases as adolescents get older and the

demand for personal autonomy increases.

Consistent with the findings that parenting factors play an important role in

adolescent adjustment, a study of sixth grade students recently found that positive

parenting practices, such as parental monitoring, frequent checking of homework, and

eating family meals together were associated with lower levels of delinquent behavior

(Griffin et al., 2000). The authors also found that parenting behaviors affected behavior

outcomes differently for boys than for girls. For instance, eating family meals together

was associated with lower levels of delinquency in girls but not in boys. Frequent

homework checking was also associated with less aggression in girls but not in boys.

These findings suggest that gender may play a moderating role in the effect of the family

environment on behavior during adolescence.

Procedural Justice

One aspect of the home environment that has recently been tied to adolescent

behavior is conflict resolution. In particular, procedural justice appraisals have been

found to relate to adolescents' feelings about their families, their psychosocial

functioning, and their levels of deviant behavior (Fondacaro, Dunkle, & Pathak, 1998;

Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999). Procedural justice refers to the fairness of the procedures

used to reach a decision, as opposed to the fairness of the decision's outcome. Early

work in the area has shown that people care as much or more about how they are treated









in the process of making a decision or resolving a conflict than they do about the outcome

itself (Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler, 1988). Research in this area has aimed to discover

what aspects of conflict resolution influence a person's subjective assessment of fairness

(Fondacaro, Jackson, & Luescher, 2002; Leventhal, 1980; Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler

& Lind, 1992). A growing body of literature has evolved in the field, defining various

procedural justice constructs as well as establishing their importance in numerous settings

(Fondacaro, Jackson, & Luescher, 2002; Leventhal, 1989; Thibaut & Walker, 1975; Tyler

& Lind, 1992).

The procedural justice literature is rich with theoretical conceptualizations of

procedural justice dimensions, but few of these dimensions have been empirically

validated until recently. Early theoretical work was conducted by Thibaut and Walker

(1975) and emphasized process control and decision control. Leventhal (1980) identified

six different criteria for assessing the fairness of decision-making: consistency, bias

suppression, accuracy, correctibility, representation, and ethicality. In 1989, Tyler

proposed a conceptually-based four factor model composed of neutrality, standing,

control, and trust.

Recently there has been a push toward the development of a more integrated,

comprehensive model of procedural justice. Fondacaro and Jackson began developing

the Family Decision Making Questionnaire and the Family Justice Inventory. Using a

college student population, Jackson and Fondacaro (1999) factor-analyzed items from the

Family Decision Making Questionnaire to test the possibility of Tyler's (1989) four

factor model of procedural justice. They instead found three interpretable factors:

personal respect, status recognition, and instrumental participation. Personal respect was









defined as the amount of respect a person is treated with throughout the decision-making

process. Status recognition refers to the way a person is treated relative to the group.

Process control refers to the amount of influence one is able to exert over the decision-

making process. In a similar study, Fondacaro et al. (2002) identified five distinct

procedural justice factors: personal respect, status recognition, process control,

correction, and trust. These factors have been studied in relationship to individual and

family functioning in a number of studies (Fondacaro et al., 1998; Fondacaro et al.,

2002).

Bronfenbrenner's (1979) theory offers an explanation regarding the importance of

procedural justice in the family context. According to this framework, the ideals and

values of the macrosystem (the due process rights of American society) transfer to the

microsystem (in this context, the family). People grow to evaluate fairness in their

everyday surroundings the same way they would evaluate fairness in the legal system.

These ideas make sense in light of behavioral science research. Grusec and Goodnow

(1994) discussed several variables that influence the effectiveness of parental discipline.

Among the variables thought to influence children's acceptance of parental discipline

techniques were the child's judgment that the parents' actions were appropriate based on

the child's misbehavior and the child's judgment of whether due process had been

observed. Acceptance was also influenced by whether the child judged that the parents'

intervention was well-intentioned.

Family functioning has recently been studied in light of procedural justice factors.

Fondacaro et al. (2002) found that procedural justice constructs were more important than

distributive justice constructs in predicting family functioning. Consistent with









expectations, adolescents cared more about how they were treated in the process of

resolving family conflict than they did about the final outcome. Procedural justice

appraisals were significantly related to levels of family conflict and cohesion.

Specifically, personal respect, status recognition, and trust predicted levels of family

conflict. Personal respect, status recognition, correction, and trust predicted levels of

family cohesion. More generally, those adolescents from more cohesive families

reported being treated as more valued members of the family. This supports the idea that

adolescents especially value the way they are treated in dispute resolution when

interacting with in-group members such as their parents.

Recent research has focused on the role of procedural justice appraisals in families

with adolescents. Diamond-Barroso (2003) studied the relationship between procedural

and distributive justice and family functioning in a sample of adolescents between 11 and

18 years of age. Subjecting 54 procedural justice items from the Family Decision

Making Questionnaire to principle components factor analysis resulted in five

interpretable factors: process control, neutrality, personal respect, status recognition, and

correction. Neutrality, personal respect, and status recognition significantly predicted

family conflict while all five procedural justice factors significantly predicted family

cohesion. Results indicated that adolescents' appraisals of procedural justice were more

important than their appraisals of distributive justice in predicting family functioning.

In addition to its relationship with family functioning, procedural justice has also

been linked to deviant behavior (Fondacaro et al., 1998). Fondacaro et al. (1998) studied

this relationship within the framework of Tyler's relational model of procedural justice

and found that those adolescents who reported unfair treatment within the family also









reported higher levels of deviant behavior. Deviant behavior was significantly associated

with less neutral, trustworthy, and respectful treatment by parents. Those adolescents

who reported being treated more fairly by parents engaged in less deviance, even when

gender and background variables were controlled for. Jackson and Fondacaro (1999)

explained some of this effect by suggesting that when decision-making processes are fair

adolescents are taught competent conflict resolution strategies that they can then use

outside the family.

Models of Delinquency Development

Several models have been proposed to explain the role of parenting and peer

variables in the development of delinquent behavior. Moffitt (1993) has put forth a social

mimicry interpretation to explain why individuals begin associating with deviant peer

groups during adolescence. He proposed the existence of a maturity gap during

adolescence, created when individuals reach biological maturity but are still constrained

to childhood roles due to elements of the present social structure. Because individuals

reach biological maturity by the early teen years but do not have the legal rights of

adulthood until years later, adolescents are forced to seek out other ways of asserting

their adult status. Because delinquent behavior can be seen as one way of as one way of

asserting one's autonomy, adolescents are attracted to peers and peer groups who are

engaging in this seemingly "adult-like" behavior and achieving adult goals. According to

this theory, the delinquent behavior is self-reinforcing and tapers off during early

adulthood when the costs outweigh the rewards. Along these lines, the attraction of both

delinquent peers and delinquent behavior is minimized when adolescents do not

experience the maturity gap. This can be accomplished by granting adolescents early

access to adult roles.









Another body of research has targeted parent/child interactions and early peer

rejection as a mediating variable in the development of delinquent behavior. Dishion,

Patterson, and Greisler (1994) proposed a coercion and confluence model to explain the

development of deviant behavior. In this model, inconsistent parenting reinforces

children for coercive and antisocial behavior. These behaviors then spill over into other

settings, such as school and peer relationships. This antisocial behavior inhibits learning

and leads to peer rejection. The failing child then selects social settings that maximize

reinforcement and new forms of deviant behavior emerge within the context of these new

peer relationships. In contrast to the social mimicry interpretation, this model implies

that adolescents will be more likely to seek out deviant peer groups if they first

experience failure in the conventional peer group. This early peer rejection results in an

unfulfilled need for social reinforcement, which adolescents then fill by selecting peer

groups that share their aggressive behaviors or social skills deficits.

More broadly, the development of deviant behavior and association with deviant

peer groups can be understood within the framework proposed by Bronfenbrenner

(1979). According to his theory, individuals interact with a variety of systems in their

daily lives. Microsystems, such as the home and the school, are the settings with which

children directly interact. Behavior learned in one microsystem is often carried over into

another. In this case, behavior learned in the home, in the context of parent-child

relationship, is carried over into the school and used in peer relationships. This causes

rejection, which leads to deviant peer group association. The effect of the home

environment is accentuated in the case of children and adolescents, as they tend to

interact with relatively few systems in their daily lives (Jackson & Fondacaro, 1999).









National Middle School Survey

Recently, Miller et al. (2003) developed and administered a comprehensive,

scientifically based survey instrument designed to identify individual differences in

aggressive behavior and precursors to school violence. Various aspects of adolescents'

experiences were evaluated, including their experiences with important adults in their

lives, their experiences with multiple forms of aggression, their perceptions of their

school environment, their peer relations, and their personal characteristics. Although the

findings of the survey are too numerous to list, several findings were relevant to the topic

at hand.

Procedural justice measures were included in the study. The dimension of

"personal respect" was found to be a significant predictor of aggressive behavior, with

those adolescents reporting that they were treated with the most respect also engaging in

the least aggressive behavior (e.g., bullying). Appraisals of procedural justice did not

differ significantly by gender, but overall satisfaction with how parents handled family

decisions did decrease with age.

Adolescents' peer relationships were also measured during this study. Consistent

with previous findings, those adolescents who reported the highest levels of involvement

with deviant peer groups also reported higher levels of bullying, fighting, and

delinquency. This characteristic was also correlated with other undesirable outcomes,

such as an unwillingness to report a weapon brought to school by a classmate.

Present Study

The present study was designed to assess the use of procedural justice appraisals

within the family context as a predictor of deviant peer group involvement. Using data

from the school violence survey administered by Miller et al. (2003), this study explored









the relationships between procedural justice, peer conflict, and deviant peer group

involvement. The study was built on the notion that the way disputes are resolved in the

home environment, as measured by adolescents' appraisals of procedural justice, has an

impact on peer relationships and contributes to association with deviant peer groups.

The specific aims and hypotheses were as follows:

1. This study sought to examine the factor structure of the shortened version of the
Family Decision Making Questionnaire in a large and diverse sample of middle
school students. Because of the exploratory nature of this analysis, no specific
hypotheses could be formed. While it is likely that procedural justice remains a
multidimensional construct for individuals across the lifespan, it is also possible
that it becomes more differentiated with age.

2. Once a factor structure had been established, we aimed to determine whether
procedural justice appraisals in the family context could be used to predict levels of
association with deviant peers. We predicted that higher appraisals of procedural
justice would b related to lower levels of deviant peer group involvement.

3. The third aim of the study was to determine whether peer conflict mediated the
relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group
involvement. We predicted that this relationship would be mediated by peer
conflict, based on the established relationships between parenting and peer conflict
and between peer conflict and deviant peer group involvement (Dishion et al.,
1991; Vuchinich et al., 1992).

4. The fourth aim of the study was to determine whether the relationship between
procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement was moderated by
gender and age. We predicted that this relationship would be moderated by age and
gender based on previous literature showing that the impact of specific parenting
practices differs based on gender and that family relationships and their effects on
adolescent development change with age (Griffin et al., 2000; Smetana, 1995).














CHAPTER 2
METHOD

Participants

Three thousand, two hundred and thirty middle school students completed the

original survey measure as part of a national study on personal, school, and family

characteristics that underlie individual differences in aggressive behavior (Miller et al.,

2003). Participants were recruited from 27 middle schools located in five states: Florida,

Texas, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Written parental consent and verbal

assent were obtained from all participants prior to the beginning of the study. Schools

were paid $2 for every completed parental consent form returned.

A subset of the data from this survey was used in all analyses related to this study.

For the current study, data from participants were excluded if they were outside the

traditional age range of middle school students (younger than 11 or older than 14), if they

were missing data related to age, gender, or procedural justice questions, or if they

completed fewer than 80% of the items related to deviant peer involvement or peer

conflict.

The remaining sample consisted of 1660 students who were demographically

similar to the original sample. As compared to the original sample, participants in the

selected sample were slightly more likely to be female and white, and slightly less likely

to be male, Hispanic, and black. The specific percentages for each demographic category

are listed in Table 1. Even with the selectivity, considerable diversity was maintained

with respect to age, gender, and ethnicity. Approximately 65% of the selected sample









was non-white. Furthermore, the selected sample did not differ significantly from the

nonselected participants on measures of deviant peer group involvement.

Materials

The original National Middle School Survey consisted of 228 questions distributed

across 14 scales designed to assess experience with aggression, experience with

important adults, perceptions of the school environment, peer relations, and personality-

oriented psychosocial characteristics. Three of the fourteen scales were used in the

present study: the Family Decision Making Questionnaire, the Elliott Deviant Actions by

Friends Scale, and the "Friends as Sources of Stress" subscale of the Life Stressors and

Social Resources Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y).

Family Decision Making Questionnaire

The Family Decision Making Questionnaire was developed by Mark Fondacaro to

assess adolescents' appraisals of procedural justice during family conflict resolution. The

scale used in this study was shortened from the original version and contained sixteen

procedural justice items and two distributive justice items. The measure requires

participants to write a description of a recent conflict they have had with their parents,

and then rate the extent to which procedural justice concepts were applied to the

situation. The final section of the questionnaire assesses the participants' satisfaction

with the outcome of the situation. Examples of items related to procedural justice

include, "Your parents) treated you with respect," and "Your parents) were truthful to

you." Responses range from 1 "strongly disagree," to 5 "strongly agree." Cronbach's

alpha for this sample was .945.









Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y)

The Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory Youth (LISRES-Y) was

developed by Moos and Moos (1992) and assesses the stressors and resources in an

adolescent's life. The "Friends as Sources of Stress" subscale was used in these analyses

(alpha = .82). This subscale assesses how often friends cause stress in a student's life.

Items are rated on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 "never" to 5 "often." Five

items were taken from this measure to form a measure of peer conflict with which to test

the mediational hypothesis.

Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale

This scale assesses the extent to which adolescents' friends engage in deviant

behaviors. The scale consists of 13 items and asks how many of the participants' friends

have engaged in various behaviors within the past year. Examples include cheating on

school tests, using drugs, using alcohol, and stealing something worth more than $50.

Items are rated from 1 "none of them" to 5 "all of them." Cronbach's alpha for this

sample was .94.

Procedure

Participants completed the surveys in varying sized groups in their regular schools

during regularly scheduled class time. School personnel and research assistants

administered the surveys and students had between 45 minutes and one hour to complete

them. The measures relevant to this study were interspersed among other measures as

part of a larger survey on school violence and individual differences in aggressive

behavior. After completing several items of demographic information, respondents

answered questions about their schools, weapons reporting, delinquent activity and

aggression, and relationships with significant adults. The Family Decision Making









Questionnaire followed these items. Next participants responded to questions related to

individual psychosocial functioning. The Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale and

the two subscales of the LISRES-Y were placed at the end of the survey.

The first aim of the study was examined using a series of exploratory factor

analyses. Further aims were tested using a series of regressions. First, a linear regression

was conducted to determine whether there was a relationship between procedural justice

and deviant peer group involvement. A series of regressions was conducted to test the

mediational hypothesis. Interaction terms were examined to determine whether there was

a moderating effect.

Table 2-1. Participant characteristics
Demographic Category % of original sample % of selected sample
n=3220 n=1660
Age
11 13.1 11.3
12 33.1 34.5
13 32.8 34.4
14 19.2 19.8
Gender
Male 39.7 38.1*
Female 60.3 61.9*
Ethnicity
Asian 3.6 4.1
Black 19.3 17.3*
Hispanic 31.9 30.2*
White 31.4 35.4*
Native American 2.9 2.4
Multiracial 4.8 4.8
Other 6.1 5.9
* Difference is significant atp < .05.
** In the original sample, 1.8% of participants reported ages outside of this range.














CHAPTER 3
RESULTS

Exploratory Factor Analysis

Before performing the factor analysis, all negatively coded items in the Family

Decision Making Questionnaire were recorded to match the rest of the items. (Lower

scores meant lower appraisals of procedural justice.) Although principle components

analysis was used in previous procedural justice studies, principle components analysis

tends to extract one general factor accounting for most of the variance and this study

aimed to identify multiple dimensions of the underlying construct. Because of this, the

sixteen procedural justice items from the Family Decision Making Questionnaire were

first subjected to principle axis factoring without rotation. Before performing the factor

analysis, skewness and kurtosis coefficients were obtained for each item of the Family

Decision Making Questionnaire. Both skewness and kurtosis were between -2 and 2 for

all items. Using Kaiser's rule, suggesting the extraction of factors with eigenvalues

greater than one, two factors were extracted accounting for 61.1% of the variance. The

first factor contained the thirteen positively worded items and accounted for 55.7% of the

variance. The second factor contained the three negatively worded items and accounted

for 5.5% of the variance. Items on this factor showed split loadings with the first factor,

producing a factor that was uninterpretable. Because this solution was so unclear, other

potential solutions were then explored.

Because of theoretical work hypothesizing four factors of procedural justice (Tyler,

1989), a second factor analysis was conducted, this time with promax rotation. Four









factors were requested. Even using the more lenient criteria of a .4 loading, the fourth

factor contained no significant loadings and the third factor contained only one clear

(non-split) loading. Furthermore, all factors were moderately to highly correlated. These

results did not support the existence of a four factor solution.

All analyses containing sixteen items resulted in the three negatively coded items

forming one factor. These three items did not create an interpretable factor.

Furthermore, the inclusion of these items resulted in split loadings among several of the

positively coded items. Because of the possible method related variance involved with

this grouping, another factor analysis was conducted using only the thirteen positively

worded items. This time one factor emerged, accounting for 65.5% of the variance in the

model. All items loaded highly on the factor, as indicated in Table 2. The factor

structure was also examined separately for each of the largest ethnic groups in the

sample: Black, White, and Hispanic. The one factor solution held across groups. Thus, a

one factor model of procedural justice was deemed the most appropriate for the shortened

version of the questionnaire used with a middle school sample. Factor scores were

computed using the regression method and used as a predictor variable in the subsequent

analyses.

Regression

The obtained factor score from the procedural justice measure was used to predict

total scores on the Elliott Deviant Actions by Friends Scale. The resulting regression was

significant, P = -.366, t(1659) = -16.012, p < .001. Procedural justice appraisals

accounted for 13.4% of the variance in deviant peer group association.









Mediation

Mediation occurs when the relationship between two variables can be accounted for

by a third variable. For instance, if Variable A is related to Variable B, but the

relationship really exists because of an underlying relationship between Variable A and

Variable C and between Variable C and Variable B, Variable C is said to mediate the

relationship between Variable A and Variable B. Full mediation occurs when the

relationship between Variable A and Variable B no longer exists when Variable C is

entered into the model. Partial mediation exists when the strength of the relationship is

significantly reduced but not eliminated.

Peer conflict was investigated as a possible mediator between procedural justice

appraisals and deviant peer group involvement using four regression analyses as outlined

by Baron and Kenny (1986). First, the mediator was regressed on the independent

variable. In this case, peer conflict was regressed on procedural justice, resulting in a

significant relationship, 0 = -.266, t(1659) = -11.232, p < .001. The negative coefficient

indicates that higher appraisals of procedural justice were related to lower levels of peer

conflict.

Next, the dependent variable was regressed on the mediator. Peer conflict

significantly predicted association with deviant peers, 0 = .266, t(1659) = 11.247, p <

.001. Higher levels of peer conflict were related to higher levels of association with

deviant peers.

Next, the dependent variable was regressed on the independent variable. In this

case, procedural justice appraisals significantly predicted association with deviant peers,

P = -.366, t(1659) = -16.012, p <.001. Higher levels of procedural justice were related to

lower levels of deviant peer group association.









Finally, the dependent variable is regressed on both the independent variable and

the mediator to determine whether the effect of the independent variable is reduced when

controlling for the mediator and whether the effect of the mediator remains significant

when controlling for the independent variable. In this case, the effect of procedural

justice on deviant peer group involvement was reduced, 0 = -.318, t(1659) = -13.637, p <

.001. Because this relationship is still significantly different from zero, full mediation

was not supported.

A follow up comparison of the unmediated regression coefficient and the mediated

regression coefficient using the Sobel test was significant, t = -8.038, p < .001, indicating

that the inclusion of peer conflict significantly reduced the relationship between

procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement. To evaluate the

significance of the indirect effect, the bootstrap method suggested by Preacher and Hayes

(2004) was used. One thousand bootstrap samples were created, yielding a 95%

confidence interval of -.7984 to -.3479. This confidence interval does not contain zero,

indicating that the indirect effect is indeed significant. The result is consistent with the

hypothesis of partial mediation. The relationship between peer conflict and association

with deviant peer groups remained significant when controlling for levels of peer

conflict, 3 = .182, t(1659) = 7.804, p < .001.

Moderation

According to Baron and Kenny (1986), a moderating relationship is found when the

relationship between two variables changes based on levels of a third variable. Another

way of stating this is that there is an interaction effect between the independent variable

and a third variable. The moderation hypotheses for this study were examined by testing

the interaction effects of procedural justice with age and procedural justice with gender.









The variables of age, gender, and procedural justice appraisals were first centered using

the methodology described by Aiken and West (1991). Interaction terms were then

created between the centered procedural justice term and each of the other centered

terms.

The possibility of a moderating relationship was first examined with the variable of

gender. A simultaneous entry multiple regression was conducted using gender,

procedural justice appraisals, and the gender/procedural justice interaction term. There

was a significant main effect of gender, in which boys were more likely to associate with

deviant peers than were girls. After controlling for the main effects of gender and

procedural justice (both significant atp < .001), the interaction term did not explain

significant additional variance, 0 = .031, t(1659) = 1.384, p = .167. Because of this, the

hypothesis that gender moderates the relationship between procedural justice appraisals

and deviant peer group involvement was not supported.

Age was also examined as a possible moderating variable. A simultaneous entry

multiple regression was conducted using age, procedural justice appraisals, and the

age/procedural justice interaction term. There was a significant main effect of age, in

which older students were more likely to associate with deviant peers than were younger

students. After controlling for the main effects of age and procedural justice (both

significant atp < .001), the interaction term did not explain additional variance, 0 = -.007,

t(1659) = -.326, p = .744. Therefore, the hypothesis that age would moderate the

relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement

was not supported.









Table 3-1. Factor loadings for positively worded procedural justice items
Item

Your parents handled the situation in a good and proper way
You trust the way your parents handled the situation
Your parents listened to you
Your parents treated you with respect
Your parents treated you as if you were someone really important
You were treated as a valued member of your family
Overall, you were treated fairly
Your parents were equally fair to everyone involved
Your parents were truthful to you
Your parents showed a lot of kindness and understanding
Your parents cared about you as an individual
You had the opportunity to present your side of the story
Any wrong decisions in this situation could be easily corrected
Extraction method: Principle Axis Factoring


Factor
Loading
.874
.868
.868
.852
.840
.824
.823
.818
.728
.779
.745
.728
.692


Excluded items:
Your parents probably gave you less respect than they would have given to other members of the family
Your parents did not pay attention to what you had to say
Your parents treated you worse than others because of your personal characteristics


3 = -.266


3 = -.318


0 for simple regression


3 = .266


-.366


Figure 3-1: Peer conflict partially mediated the relationship between procedural justice
appraisals and association with deviant peers.


Peer Conflict


Procedural Justice
Appraisals


Association with
Deviant Peers














CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to determine whether procedural justice appraisals in

the family context could predict early adolescents' association with deviant peer groups,

as well as to examine mediating and moderating influences. In order to achieve this goal,

a measure of procedural justice appraisals had to be critically analyzed. Because

previous studies have concluded that procedural justice is a multidimensional construct,

with different dimensions related to different outcomes (Fondacaro et al., 2002; Jackson

& Fondacaro, 1999), it was hypothesized that a factor analysis of the current data would

also yield multiple factors. Instead, only one interpretable factor was extracted

containing the thirteen positively worded items. All items loaded highly on this factor,

indicating that it represented a general procedural justice construct.

The fact that only one interpretable factor emerged can have both methodological

and conceptual implications for future studies. Methodologically, further research should

be done with younger adolescents involving a greater number of procedural justice items.

It is possible that the brevity of the current measure could account for the unexpected

results. However, since this was the first study to examine a large, diverse sample

composed exclusively of younger adolescents, it is also possible that these results

represent a true age difference in conceptualizations of procedural justice and views of

what constitutes fairness. Researchers have tied ideals with the family to ideals within

our larger society, such as the legal system (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Jackson & Fondacaro,

1999). It is possible that the impact of societal ideals increases as children age and









become more acquainted with systems outside the family. It is also possible that, due to

cognitive development, children's and adolescents' perceptions of procedural justice

become more differentiated as they get older and develop more advanced categorization

abilities. Further research on young adolescents should use the previously factor

analyzed measures, and possibly use college students as controls since the largest body of

research has already been done on that population. This would help partition any genuine

age effect from simple method variance.

After examining the factor structure for this measure of procedural justice, factor

scores were used as a predictor in a regression model with deviant peer group

involvement as the dependent variable. As hypothesized, procedural justice appraisals

significantly predicted deviant peer group involvement. As with most social phenomena,

deviant peer group involvement is expected to have multiple determinants. With this in

mind, the 13.4% of the variance explained by procedural justice is substantial. This

result is consistent with the body of research connecting parenting practices with deviant

peer group involvement. The identification of procedural justice as an important aspect

of the family environment is consistent with the recent procedural justice literature

claiming that adolescents place particular importance on the way they are treated during

dispute resolution when interacting with in-group members such as their parents.

The hypothesis that peer conflict would mediate the relationship between

procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement was supported by the

current study. Peer conflict partially mediated the relationship, meaning that some of the

relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement

occurs because procedural justice impacts levels of peer conflict and peer conflict leads









to deviant peer group involvement. In this case, lower appraisals of procedural justice

were related to higher levels of peer conflict, which in turn were related to higher levels

of deviant peer group involvement. This result is consistent with research by Dishion, et

al. (1994) suggesting that parenting practices impact children's behaviors. Results of the

current study support the idea that the way parents resolve conflicts with their adolescents

may in fact relate to the way these adolescents behave in other settings. In turn, this

behavior may impact peer relationships. These poor peer relationships are shown to be

related to deviant peer group involvement and delinquent behavior. It is also important to

note that there still remained a significant direct relationship between procedural justice

appraisals and association with deviant peers even after including peer conflict in the

model. These findings can have important implications for intervention and prevention.

They indicate that the relationships among parenting and peer variables are complex and

that the development of delinquent behavior may involve more than one potential

trajectory. While the data from the current study are not sufficient to determine the

specific causal mechanisms involved, future research could further illuminate the way

conflict resolution is learned within the family and transferred to outside settings.

Because of research showing that adolescents' relationships with their parents

changed with age and that some parenting practices affected girls and boys differently, it

was hypothesized that procedural justice might interact with age and gender in its effect

on deviant peer group association. However, moderating effects of age and gender were

not supported by the current study. The results of the present study indicate that

procedural justice is a more robust construct, affecting early adolescents equally across

ages and genders. This is consistent with the conceptualization that adolescents may









learn concepts of justice from outside of the family and apply these expectations to their

interactions with their parents.

As with any empirical study, the present research has some limitations. As

previously discussed, procedural justice may have been better measured with a more

thorough procedural justice questionnaire. Because only one factor of procedural justice

was identified and used in regression, fine-tuned distinctions due to the changing

emphasis on certain dimensions could not be studied. It is hoped that future research can

examine mediating and moderating influences with a more fine-tuned measurement

instrument. Future studies with a more thorough measurement of this construct could

also use more advanced statistical techniques such as structural equation modeling to

explore the relationships between the relevant latent variables.

The sample for this study, while large and diverse, was unrepresentative of the

population in a few potentially significant ways. For instance, female participants

outnumbered male participants considerably. This difference is not representative of the

schools from which the students came, so the difference is apparently the result of a self-

selection factor. Namely, parents of girls may have been more willing to consent to the

study than parents of boys. The ethnic breakdown of the sample is also slightly

unrepresentative of the population. Asian-Americans, in particular, seem to be

underrepresented and Hispanic-Americans seem to be overrepresented. Further research

would be required to determine whether these ethnic and cultural differences influenced

the generalizability of the study.

Finally, the correlational nature of the study makes it impossible to establish a

causal relationship between the variables of interest. However, this study significantly









adds to the existing literature by establishing general relationships between the relevant

constructs, laying the groundwork for experimental manipulation in the future. This

study helps define a theoretical basis for later work in the area.

Even with its limitations, this study fills a gap in previous literature by pinpointing

specific facets of the parent/child relationship that may affect the trajectory toward

delinquent behavior and by establishing preliminary relationships between parenting and

peer variables. This study also strengthens the relationship between two seemingly

separate lines of research: delinquency prevention and procedural justice and highlights

the importance of future study in the area of family conflict resolution. The results of this

study are consistent with the theoretical framework linking parenting behaviors with peer

relations and peer relations with delinquent behavior. The results of this study confirm

previous findings that adolescents care about the perceived fairness of conflict resolution

procedures used in the home. Furthermore, when adolescents report that their parents use

unfair conflict resolution procedures, they are more likely to also report conflictual peer

relationships. Poor relationships with parents and peers in turn increase the likelihood

that adolescents will associate with deviant peer groups and eventually engage in more

delinquent behavior.















LIST OF REFERENCES


Aiken, L. S. & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting
interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986).
The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research:
Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations.Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182.

Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Ciarocco, N. J., & Twenge, J. M. (2005). Social
exclusion impairs self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
88, 589-604. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire
for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological
Bulletin, 117,497-529.

Broidy, L. M., Nagin, D. S., Tremblay, R. E., Bates, J. E., Brame, B., Dodge, K. A.,
Fergusson, D., Horwood, J. L., Loeber, R., Laird, R., Lynam, D. R., Moffitt, T. E.,
Pettit, G. S., & Vitaro, F. (2003). Developmental trajectories of childhood
disruptive behaviors and adolescent delinquency: A six-site, cross-national study.
Developmental Psychology, 39, 222-245.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature
and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Brown, B. B., & Lohr, M. J. (1987). Peer group affiliation and adolescent self-esteem: An
integration of ego-identity and symbolic interaction theories. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 52, 47-55.

Cairns, R. B., Cairns, B. D., Neckerman, H. J., Gest, S. D., & Gariepy, J. (1998). Social
networks and aggressive behavior: Peer support or peer rejection? Developmental
Psychology, 24, 815-823.

Coie, J. D., Lochman, J.E., Terry, R. & Hyman, C. (1992). Predicting early adolescent
disorder from childhood aggression and peer rejection. Journal of Consulting and
Clinical Psychology, 60, 783-792.

Diamond-Barroso, A. (2003). Linking procedural and distributive justice in family
decision-making to adolescent and family functioning. Unpublished doctoral
dissertation, University of Florida.

Dishion, T. J. (1990). The family ecology of boys' peer relations in middle childhood.
Child Development, 61, 874-892.









Dishion, T. J., & Owen, L. D. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of friendships and
substance use: Bidirectional influence from adolescence to adulthood.
Developmental Psychology, 38, 480-491. Dishion, T. J., Patterson, G. R., &
Griesler, P. C. (1994). Peer adaptations in the development of antisocial behavior:
A confluence model. In L. R. Huesmann (Ed), Aggressive behavior: Current
perspectives (pp. 61-95). New York: Plenum Press.

Dishion, T. J., Patterson, G. R., Stoolmiller, M., & Skinner, M. L. (1991). Family, school,
and behavioral antecedents to early adolescent involvement with antisocial peers.
Developmental Psychology, 27, 172-180.

Elliott, D. S., Huizinga, D., & Ageton, S. S. (1985). Explaining delinquency and drug
use. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Elliott, D. S., & Menard, S. (1996). Delinquent friends and delinquent behavior:
Temporal and developmental patterns. In J.D. Hawkins (Ed), Delinquency and
crime (pp. 28-67). Cambridge University Press.

Fuligni, A. J., Eccles, J. S., Barber, B. L., & Clements, P. (2001). Early adolescent peer
orientation and adjustment during high school. Developmental Psychology, 37, 28-
36.

Fondacaro, M. R., Dunkle, M. E., & Pathak, M. K. (1998). Procedural justice in resolving
family disputes: A psychosocial analysis of individual and family functioning in
late adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 27, 101-119.

Fondacaro, M. R., Jackson, S. L., & Luescher, J. (2002). Toward the assessment of
procedural and distributive justice in resolving family disputes. Social Justice
Research, 15, 341-371.

Granic, I., Hollenstein, T., Dishion, T. J., & Patterson, G. R. (2003). Longitudinal
analysis of flexibility and reorganization in early adolescence: A dynamic systems
study of family interactions. Developmental Psychology, 39, 606-617.

Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., Scheier, L. M., Diaz, T., & Miller, N. L. (2000). Parenting
practices as predictors of substance use, delinquency, and aggression among urban
minority youth: Moderating effects of family structure and gender. Psychology of
Addictive Behaviors 14, 174-184.

Grusec, J. E., & Goodnow, J. J. (1994). Impact of parental discipline methods on the
child's internalization of values: A reconceptualization of current points of view.
Developmental Psychology, 30, 4-19.

Hawkins, J. D., Herrenkohl, T. I., Farrington, D. P., Brewer, D., Catalano, R. F., Harachi,
T. W., & Cothern, L. (2000). Predictors of youth violence. Juvenile Justice Bulletin
of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Rockville, MD.









Henry, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Silva, P. A. (1996). Temperamental and familial
predictors of violent and nonviolent criminal convictions: Age 3 to age 18.
Developmental Psychology, 32, 614-623.

Jackson, S., & Fondacaro, M. (1999). Procedural justice in resolving family conflict:
Implications for youth violence prevention. Law & Policy, 21, 101-127.

Jaycox, L. H., & Repetti, R. L. (1993). Conflict in families and the psychological
adjustment of preadolescent children. Journal of Family Psychology, 7, 344-355.

Krueger, R. F., Schmutte, P. S., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Campbell, K., & Silva, P. A.
(1994). Personality traits are linked to crime among men and women: Evidence
from a birth cohort. Journal ofAbnormal Psychology, 103, 328-338.

Leventhal, G. S. (1980). What should be done with equity theory? In K. J. Gergen, M. S.
Greenberg, & R. H. Weiss (Eds), Social Exchange: Advances in Theory and
Research (pp. 27-53). New York: Plenum Press.

Linden, E., & Hackler, J. C. (1973). Affective ties and delinquency. Pacific Sociological
Review, 16, 27-46.

Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1998). Development of juvenile aggression and
violence: Some common misconceptions and controversies. American
Psychologist, 53, 242-259.

Miller, S. A., Fondacaro, M. F., Woolard, J. L., Boggs, S., Brank, E., Cliett, W., et al.
(2003). National middle school survey: School violence and beliefs about self,
others, and the future. Final report to U. S. Department of Education.

Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior:
A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674-701. Moos, R. H., &
Moos, B. S. (1992). Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory-Youth Form
Manual. Palo Alto, CA: Center for Health CareEvaluation, Stanford University and
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Patterson, G. R., DeBaryshe, B. D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental perspective
on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist, 44, 329-335.

Patterson, G. R., Dishion, T. J., & Yoerger, K. (2000). Adolescent growth in new forms
of problem behavior: Macro- and micro-peer dynamics. Prevention Science, (1), 3-
13.

Patterson, G. R., Forgatch, M. S., Yoerger, K. L., & Stoolmiller, M. (1998). Variables
that initiate and maintain an early-onset trajectory for juvenile offending.
Development and Psychopathology, 10, 531-547.









Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect
effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and
Computers, 36, 717-731.

Smetana, J. G. (1995). Parenting styles and conceptions of parental authority during
adolescence. Child development, 66, 299-316.

Snyder, H. N. (2004). Juvenile Justice Bulletin: Juvenile Arrests 2002. Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Loeber, R., Wei, E., Farrington, D. P., Wikstrom, P. H. (2002).
Risk and promotive effects in the explanation of persistent serious delinquency in
boys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(1), 111-123.

Thibaut, J. W., & Walker, L. (1975) Procedural Justice: A Psychological Analysis.
Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ. Thornberry, T. P., & Krohn, M. D. (1997).
Peers, drug use, and delinquency. In D. M. Stoff, J. Breiling, & J. D. Maser (Eds),
Handbook ofAntisocial Behavior (pp. 218-233). John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Twenge, J. M., Baumeister, R. F., Tice, D. M., & Stucke, T. S. (2001). If you can't
join them, beat them: Effects of social exclusion on aggressive behavior. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, (8), 1058-1069.

Tyler, T. R. (1988). What is procedural justice? Criteria used by citizens to assess the
fairness of legal procedures. Law & Society Review, 22, 103-135. Tyler, T. R.
(1989). The psychology of procedural justice: A test of the group-value model.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 830-838.

Tyler, T. R., & Lind, E. A. (1992). A relational model of authority in groups. In M. P.
Zanna (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 25), San Diego,
CA: Academic Press.

Vuchinich, S., Bank, L., & Patterson, G. R. (1992). Parenting, peers, and the stability of
antisocial behavior in preadolescent boys. Developmental Psychology, 28, 510-521.

Walker-Barnes, C. J., & Mason, C. A. (2004). Delinquency and substance use among
gang-involved youth: The moderating role of parenting practices. American
Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 235-250.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jennifer Stuart was born August 8, 1982, in Springfield, MA. She grew up in

Pinellas County, FL, and graduated from Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs

High School in 2000. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Florida Southern College in

2004 with majors in psychology and special education. Jennifer plans to continue

graduate study at the University of Florida in the areas of counseling psychology and law.