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Parents, Friends, and Romantic Partners: Enmeshment in Deviant Networks and Adolescent Delinquency Involvement

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Lonardo, R.A., P.C. Giordano, M.A. Longmore, and Wendy Manning. 2009. "Parents, Friends, and Romantic Partners: Enmeshment in Deviant Networks and Adolescent Delinquency Involvement." Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(3): 367-383.

Adolescent networks include parents, friends, and romantic partners, but research on the social learning mechanisms related to delinquency has not typically examined the characteristics of all three domains simultaneously. Analyses draw on data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (n = 957), and our analytic sample contains 51% male and 49% female as well as 69% white, 24% African-American, and 7% Latino respondents. Parents,' peers,' and partners' deviance are each related to respondents' delinquency, and affiliation with a greater number of deviant networks is associated with higher self-reported involvement. Analyses that consider enmeshment type indicate that those with both above average romantic partner and friend delinquency report especially high levels of self-reported involvement. In all comparisons, adolescents with deviant romantic partners are more delinquent than those youths with more prosocial partners, regardless of friends' and parents' behavior. Findings highlight the importance of capturing the adolescent's entire network of affiliations, rather than viewing these in isolation, and suggest the need for additional research on romantic partner influences on delinquent behavior and other adolescent outcomes.

DOI:10.1007/s10964-008-9333-4 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2967015. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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