Mediating the Peer Influence Effect with Facets of Criminal Thought Process and Content in a Group of Early Adolescents: Replication and Extension

  • Glenn D. WaltersEmail author


Prior research indicates that criminal thought content and criminal thought process mediate the peer influence effect (peer delinquency → participant delinquency). This study sought to model the temporal order of these two categories of antisocial cognition in mediating peer influence. Responses provided by 1,795 (847 male, 948 female) members of the Gang Resistance Education and Training study (mean age = 12.11 years) on measures of criminal thought content (negative attitude toward the police) and criminal thought process (proactive criminal thinking in the form of neutralizing techniques) were analyzed. Only the “content before process” model achieved significance, however. Thus, while peer associations may stimulate criminal thought content and criminal thought process, the effect on criminal thought content may be more proximal and the effect on criminal thought process may be mediated by criminal thought content.


Peer influence effect Criminal thought content and process Proactive criminal thinking Negative attitude toward the police 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

Study approved by the Kutztown University Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

This is a secondary data analysis, but the authors of the original GREAT study did obtain informed consent from parents and informed assent from participating children.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeKutztown UniversityKutztownUSA

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