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Procedural Justice in Family Conflict Resolution and Deviant Peer Group Involvement Among Adolescents: The Mediating Influence of Peer Conflict

Abstract

The involvement of adolescents with deviant peer groups is one of the strongest proximal correlates to juvenile delinquency and stems from a variety of causes. Past research has linked ineffective parenting with peer variables, including deviant peer group involvement and peer conflict during adolescence. In this study, adolescents’ appraisals of procedural justice within the family (adolescents’ appraisals of how fairly they are treated by parents in the process of resolving family conflict) were examined as one aspect of effective parenting that may relate to deviant peer group involvement in early adolescence. Data from 1660 middle school students (ages 11–14, mean = 12.6) indicated that higher appraisals by adolescents of procedural justice during family conflict resolution were related to lower levels of both peer conflict and deviant peer group involvement. A structural model was tested in which the relationship between adolescents’ appraisals of procedural justice in the family and deviant peer group involvement was partially mediated by measures of peer conflict. This model was found to have adequate fit to the data, indicating that part of the relationship between procedural justice appraisals and deviant peer group involvement can be explained by levels of peer conflict. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Notes

  1. The original LISRES-Y subscale contained six items, one of which was highly collinear with the dependent variable. Analyses were also conducted using the full measure and results were stronger and in the same direction. Full results of these analyses are available upon request.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education: Fund for the Improvement of Education Program PR/Award Number R215U010016. We would like to acknowledge Jennifer Woolard, Steven Boggs, William Cliett, Mel Lucas, Stephen Smith, Imicuk Loyuk, Anca Mirsu-Paun, Jennifer Luescher, and Ramona Chinn for their work on this project. A final report on the grant research was provided to the U.S. Department of Education in December 2003. Preliminary findings from this study were presented at the 2006 meeting of the American Psychology - Law Society, St. Petersburg, FL. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jennifer L. Stuart, Department of Psychology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611-5950; e-mail: jlstuart@ufl.edu.

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Correspondence to Mark Fondacaro.

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Stuart, J., Fondacaro, M., Miller, S.A. et al. Procedural Justice in Family Conflict Resolution and Deviant Peer Group Involvement Among Adolescents: The Mediating Influence of Peer Conflict. J Youth Adolescence 37, 674–684 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-007-9194-2

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Keywords

  • Procedural justice
  • Family conflict
  • Deviant peers
  • Juvenile delinquency