A DUAL-SYSTEMS APPROACH FOR UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENTIAL SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PROCESSES OF PEER INFLUENCE

Authors


  • Additional supporting information can be found in the listing for this article in the Wiley Online Library at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/crim.2013.51.issue-2/issuetoc.

  • The authors wish to thank Raymond Paternoster and Holly Nguyen for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article, as well as Puka Thomas for her enduring support. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

Direct correspondence to Jean Marie McGloin, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, 2220 L LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742 (e-mail: jmcgloin@umd.edu).

Abstract

The distinct peer-based perspectives of deviant normative influence and unstructured/unsupervised socializing with friends contend that adolescents rely on different information when deciding to offend, with the former positing that individuals offend after considering the longer term consequences of behavior, and the latter positing that decisions to offend derive from situational stimuli. We argue that these processes can be organized under a dual-systems framework of decision making, which leads to the hypothesis that individuals at the edges of impulsivity should be differentially vulnerable to these peer influence processes because of their tendency to rely on only one system of decision making. We use two large data sets to test this hypothesis: a nationally representative sample of adolescents from the AddHealth study (N = ∼9,000) and a pooled panel data set of adolescents from the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) evaluation (N = 1,172). The results of longitudinal negative binomial analyses indicate that normative influence by deviant peers has a stronger effect on delinquency for adolescents with low impulsivity than it does for individuals with high impulsivity. Differences in the informal socializing with peers coefficients are less clear and offer minimal support for our predictions.

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