After-School Activities and Peers as a Socializing Mechanisms in the Development of Antisocial Behavior During Early Adolescence: A Test of a Nonrecursive Model

Richard F. Catalano, University of Washington
Tracy W. Harachi, University of Washington

Stability in rank ordering of antisocial behavior from the elementary to high school developmental time periods have been explained with nonrecursive models that argue that antisocial behavior affects patterns of socialization that in turn lead to more delinquent and criminal behavior. Literature on routine after-school activities provides a concrete picture of socialization processes during early adolescence, pointing to the importance of after-school activities in leading to peer associations that, in turn, affect levels of delinquent behavior. This study uses annual survey data on 740 participants from Raising Health Children, a study of children recruited from a suburban Northwest school district. Cross-lagged models are used to examine relationships between teacher report of disruptive and aggressive behavior in grades 6 through 8, student report of after-school activities and peers in grades 6 through 9, and student report of delinquency and aggressive behavior in grade 9. The models test the extent to which antisocial behavior predicts levels of structured and unstructed after-school activities as well as negative and positive peer associations at the next time point, during transitions from elementary to high school. Conversely, the models assess the extent to which after-school activities and peer associations predict levels of antisocial behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006