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Dev Psychol. 2002 Jan;38(1):42-54.

Contextual amplification of pubertal transition effects on deviant peer affiliation and externalizing behavior among African American children.

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Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


The effects of the pubertal transition on behavior problems and its interaction with family and neighborhood circumstances were examined with a sample of 867 African American children 10-12 years of age. Pubertal development status, pubertal timing, and primary caregivers' parenting behaviors were significantly related to affiliation with deviant peers and externalizing behaviors. Externalizing behavior among early-maturing children was associated positively with primary caregivers' use of harsh-inconsistent discipline and negatively with nurturant-involved parenting practices. Disadvantaged neighborhood conditions were significantly associated with deviant peer affiliation. The effect of pubertal transition varied according to family and neighborhood conditions: Early-maturing children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods were significantly more likely to affiliate with deviant peers. Early-maturing children with harsh and inconsistent parents were significantly more likely to have externalizing problems.

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