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Dev Psychol. 2013 Nov;49(11):2057-70. doi: 10.1037/a0031854. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Can parental monitoring and peer management reduce the selection or influence of delinquent peers? Testing the question using a dynamic social network approach.

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Center for Developmental Research, Institute of Law, Psychology, and Social Work.


We tested whether parents can reduce affiliation with delinquent peers through 3 forms of peer management: soliciting information, monitoring rules, and communicating disapproval of peers. We examined whether peer management interrupted 2 peer processes: selection and influence of delinquent peers. Adolescents' feelings of being overcontrolled by parents were examined as an additional moderator of delinquent selection and influence. Using network data from a community sample (N = 1,730), we tested whether selection and influence processes varied across early, middle, and late adolescent cohorts. Selection and influence of delinquent peers were evident in all 3 cohorts and did not differ in strength. Parental monitoring rules reduced the selection of delinquent peers in the oldest cohort. A similar effect was found in the early adolescent cohort, but only for adolescents who did not feel overcontrolled by parents. Monitoring rules increased the likelihood of selecting a delinquent friend among those who felt overcontrolled. The effectiveness of communicating disapproval was also mixed: in the middle adolescent network, communicating disapproval increased the likelihood of an adolescent selecting a delinquent friend. Among late adolescents, high levels of communicating disapproval were effective, reducing the influence of delinquent peers for adolescents reporting higher rates of delinquency. For those who reported lower levels of delinquency, high levels of communicating disapproval increased the influence of delinquent peers. The results of this study suggest that the effectiveness of monitoring and peer management depend on the type of behavior, the timing of its use, and whether adolescents feel overcontrolled by parents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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