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Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Feb;23(1):293-304. doi: 10.1017/S0954579410000805.

Exposure to peer delinquency as a mediator between self-report pubertal timing and delinquency: a longitudinal study of mediation.

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School of Social Work, University of Southern California, University Park Campus, MRF, MC 0411, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


This study examined exposure to peer delinquency as a mediator between pubertal timing and self-reported delinquency longitudinally and whether this mediational model was moderated by either gender or maltreatment experience. Data were obtained from Time 1, 2, and 3 of a longitudinal study of maltreatment and development. At Time 1 the sample comprised 454 children aged 9-13 years. Analyses via structural equation modeling supported full mediation. Gender did not moderate this mediational relationship, but maltreatment experience did. The results show that early maturing males and females are both at risk for being exposed to peers that may draw them into delinquent behavior. In addition, the mechanism linking early pubertal timing to delinquency differs depending on maltreatment experience.

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