Empirical Articles

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, 22:103

First online:

Risk and protective factors influencing adolescent problem behavior: A multivariate latent growth curve analysis

  • Susan C. DuncanAffiliated withOregon Research Institute
  • , Terry E. DuncanAffiliated withOregon Research Institute
  • , Lisa A. StryckerAffiliated withOregon Research Institute

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This study examined the dynamic relations between adolescent problem behaviors (alcohol, marijuana, deviance, academic failure) over time and predictors of these behaviors. Data from the National Youth Survey (1) included 1,044 adolescents (53.5% male; mean age at year 1=13.20). Dependent measures were adolescent alcohol use, marijuana use, deviance, and academic failure, assessed annually over 4 years. Independent measures included age, gender, marital status, income, family time, family support, time with friends, friend deviance, knowledge of friends, activities, and neighborhood problems. An associative latent growth modeling (LGM) analysis showed significant increases and relations between the four behaviors in both initial status and development. Second-order multivariate LGM analyses indicated that the four behaviors could be modeled by a higher-order problem behavior construct. Significant effects on the common problem behavior intercept or slope included time with friends, deviant friends, age, marital status, family time, and support. Additional effects were found to be specific to the initial status and slopes of individual problem behaviors. Overall, results indicate the importance of assessing the relations between adolescent problem behaviors as they change over time and identifying the risk and protective factors that have both common and individual influences on these behaviors.