, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 587-598
Date: 03 Jun 2006

The Influence of Future Certainty and Contextual Factors on Delinquent Behavior and School Adjustment Among African American Adolescents

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This study examined the ability of future certainty—an individual's perception of future stability, operationalized as the likelihood of certain life outcomes–to explain variance in delinquency and school adjustment, while controlling for economic, neighborhood, and family factors, among a cross-sectional sample of 1422 male and 1562 female African American adolescents drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Three kinds of future certainty were examined: future life certainty (e.g., life expectancy), marriage certainty, and college certainty. In hierarchical multiple regression analyses, future certainty and family functioning were stronger predictors than economic and neighborhood variables: neighborhood disorganization and family socioeconomic status. Future life certainty and expectations of attending college were stronger predictors of delinquency among males than females. Marriage certainty was the weakest predictor of the three certainty variables.