Ethnic Differences in the Effect of Parenting on Gang Involvement and Gang Delinquency: A Longitudinal, Hierarchical Linear Modeling Perspective

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Abstract

This study examined the relative influence of peer and parenting behavior on changes in adolescent gang involvement and gang-related delinquency. An ethnically diverse sample of 300 ninth-grade students was recruited and assessed on eight occasions during the school year. Analyses were conducted using hierarchical linear modeling. Results indicated that, in general, adolescents decreased their level of gang involvement over the course of the school year, whereas the average level of gang delinquency remained constant over time. As predicted, adolescent gang involvement and gang-related delinquency were most strongly predicted by peer gang involvement and peer gang delinquency, respectively. Nevertheless, parenting behavior continued to significantly predict change in both gang involvement and gang delinquency, even after controlling for peer behavior. A significant interaction between parenting and ethnic and cultural heritage found the effect of parenting to be particularly salient for Black students, for whom higher levels of behavioral control and lower levels of lax parental control were related to better behavioral outcomes over time, whereas higher levels of psychological control predicted worse behavioral outcomes.

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