Parenting Practices and the Course of Pre-Adolescent Antisocial Behaviors

David J. Pevalin, University of Essex
Terrance J. Wade, Brock University

Evidence for the early manifestation and stability of antisocial behaviors has been widely documented in the sociological, criminological, psychiatric, and psychological literature. If there is a tendency for such antisocial and disruptive traits to be stable once inculcated, it is important to identify the developmental processes in the child's social-structural and family environments that precede these behaviors. Past reviews suggest a complex relationship between socio-economic disadvantage, poor parent-child relations and children's behavior problems and delinquency. This perspective suggests a cascading of risk factors where the familial environment, specifically parenting practices, mediates the social-structural background risks such as economic disadvantage. In this analysis, we contribute new population-based empirical evidence towards these debates regarding the stability and malleability of pre-adolescent antisocial behavior and the social-structural coneitions and family processes that predict change. We position our analysis within the social and family perspectives of developmental theories of antisocial behavior while having due regard for the role of uniquely individual characteristics of the child. We used data from the first three waves (1994, 1996 and 1998) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) conducted by Statistics Canada. A cluster analysis permitted the identification of sub-samples of children most vulnerable to behavioral and other problems (int he areas of education, health, and mental health). Regression methods are subsequently employed toidentify the factors associated with movement into and out of the highest risk clusters over the three waves of the survey.

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Updated 05/20/2006