Permissive Parenting, Deviant Peer Affiliations, and Delinquent Behavior in Adolescence: the Moderating Role of Sympathetic Nervous System Reactivity
- 2.8k Downloads
The present study examined two measures of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity as moderators of the indirect path from permissive parenting to deviant peer affiliations to delinquency among a community sample of adolescents. Participants included 252 adolescents (M = 15.79 years; 53 % boys; 66 % European American, 34 % African American). A multi-method design was employed to address the research questions. Two indicators of SNS reactivity, skin conductance level reactivity (SCLR) and cardiac pre-ejection period reactivity (PEPR) were examined. SNS activity was measured during a baseline period and a problem-solving task (star-tracing); reactivity was computed as the difference between the task and baseline periods. Adolescents reported on permissive parenting, deviant peer affiliations, externalizing behaviors, and substance use (alcohol, marijuana). Analyses revealed indirect effects between permissive parenting and delinquency via affiliation with deviant peers. Additionally, links between permissive parenting to affiliation with deviant peers and affiliation with deviant peers to delinquency was moderated by SNS reactivity. Less SNS reactivity (less PEPR and/or less SCLR) were risk factors for externalizing problems and alcohol use. Findings highlight the moderating role of SNS reactivity in parenting and peer pathways that may contribute to adolescent delinquency and point to possibilities of targeted interventions for vulnerable youth.
KeywordsPermissive parenting Deviant peer affiliation Delinquency Sympathetic nervous system reactivity
This research was supported by Grant R01-HD046795 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded to Mona El-Sheikh. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. We wish to thank the staff of our Research Laboratory, most notably Lori Staton and Bridget Wingo, for data collection and preparation, and the school personnel, children, and parents who participated.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
- Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. (2001). ASEBA school-age forms & profiles. Burlington: Aseba.Google Scholar
- Beauchaine, T. P., Gatzke-Kopp, L., Neuhaus, E., Chipman, J., Reid, M. J., & Webster-Stratton, C. (2013). Sympathetic-and parasympathetic-linked cardiac function and prediction of externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, and prosocial behavior among preschoolers treated for ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 481–493.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm.
- Dishion, T. J., & Kavanagh, K. E. (2003). CRPSK: Child Peer Social Skills. In T. J. Dishion & K. Kavanagh (Eds.), Intervening in adolescent problem behavior: A family centered approach. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Gray, J. A. (1987). The Psychology of Fear and Stress. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kochanska, G., Brock, R. L., Chen, K.-H., Aksan, N., & Anderson, S. W. (2015). Paths from mother-child and father-child relationships to externalizing behavior problems in children differing in children differing in electrodermal reactivity: a longitudinal study from infancy to age 10. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 721–734.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Piehler, T. (n.d.). Psychometric properties for CPRSK: Child peer social skills. Retrieved August 27, 2015. http://measures.earlyadolescence.org/psychometrics/view/7/#
- Selig, J. P., & Preacher, K. J. (2008). Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software]. Available from http://quantpsy.org/.
- Sijtsema, J. J., Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., van Roon, A. M., Verhulst, F. C., Ormel, J., & Riese, H. (2010). Mediation of sensation seeking and behavioral inhibition on the relationship between heart rate and antisocial behavior: the TRAILS study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 493–502.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sijtsema, J. J., Nederhof, E., Veenstra, R., Ormel, J., Oldehinkel, A. J., & Ellis, B. J. (2013). Effects of family cohesion and heart rate reactivity on aggressive/rule-breaking behavior and prosocial behavior in adolescence: the tracking adolescents’ individual lives survey study. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 699–712.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Commerce. (2013). How the Census Bureau measures poverty from http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/measure.html.