Peer Influences on Property Crime, Violence, and Drug Use: Congruence and Developmental Timing

David B. Henry, University of Illinois - Chicago
Patrick H. Tolan, University of Illinois at Chicago
Deborah Gorman-Smith, University of Illinois - Chicago

If deviancy training is unidirectional influence from peers to adolescents, there should be congruence between the types of delinquent behavior engaged in by adolescents and their peers. If deviancy training involves more general change in normative beliefs about deviance, such congruence would not be expected. Using growth modeling, this study explored the degree of congruence between peers and individual adolescents' delinquent behaviors with six waves of data from a sample of 227 urban, minority, adolescent males. Congruence was found for drug involvement only. Peer drug involvement at any time in adolescence predicted growth in individual drug involvement. Peer violence in early adolescence predicted growth in individual violence and individual property crime. Involvement with violent peers throughout adolescence predicted growth in individual violence. Surprisingly, peer property crime throughout adolescence was negatively associated with growth in individual violence and drug involvement, and did not positively predict growth in individual property crime.

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Updated 05/20/2006