Problem Behavior Theory and the Social Context

The Collected Works of Richard Jessor, Volume 3

  • Richard Jessor

Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Richard Jessor
    Pages 1-9
  3. Problem Behavior Theory and the Social Context of Disadvantage

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Richard Jessor, Mark S. Turbin, Frances M. Costa
      Pages 31-56
    3. Frances M. Costa, Richard Jessor, Mark S. Turbin, Qi Dong, Hongchuan Zhang, Changhai Wang
      Pages 57-88
    4. Robert P. Ndugwa, Caroline W. Kabiru, John Cleland, Donatien Beguy, Thaddeus Egondi, Eliya M. Zulu et al.
      Pages 95-115
    5. Caroline W. Kabiru, Donatien Beguy, Robert P. Ndugwa, Eliya M. Zulu, Richard Jessor
      Pages 117-135
    6. Thaddaeus Egondi, Caroline Kabiru, Donatien Beguy, Kanyiva Muindi, Richard Jessor
      Pages 137-159
  4. Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Engaging the Social Context

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 281-286

About this book


This third and final volume of Richard Jessor’s collected works explores the central role of the social context in the formulation and application of Problem Behavior Theory. It discusses the effect of the social environment, especially the social context of disadvantage and limited opportunity, on adolescent behavior, health, and development. The book examines the application of the theory in social contexts as diverse as the inner cities of the United States; the slums of Nairobi, Kenya; and the urban settings of Beijing, China. It also provides insight into how adolescents and young adults manage to “succeed”, despite disadvantage, limited opportunity, and even dangers in their everyday life settings. It illuminates how these youth manage to stay on track in school, avoid unintended pregnancy and dropout, keep clear of the criminal justice system, and remain uninvolved in heavy drug use. In addition, the book discusses the conceptual and methodological issues entailed in engaging the social context, including the role of subjectivity and meaning in an objective behavioral science; the contribution of the perceived environment in determining behavior; the continuity that characterizes adolescent growth and development; the necessity for a social-psychological level of analysis that avoids reductionism; the importance of a framework that engages the larger social environment; and the advantage of  adhering to systematic theory for the explanatory generality it yields.

Topics featured in this volume include:

  • Home-leaving and its occurrence among youth in impoverished circumstances.
  • The continuity of adolescent developmental change.
  • The impact of neighborhood disadvantage on successful adolescent development.
  • Successful adolescence in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Explaining both behavior and development in the language of social psychology. 
Problem Behavior Theory and the Social Context is a must-have resource for researchers, professors, clinicians, and related professionals as well as graduate students in sociology, social and developmental psychology, criminology/criminal justice, public health, and allied disciplines.


Adolescent problem behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa Adolescent resilience in Kenya At-risk youth and social context Behavioral science and environment Cross-national research on adolescence Development from adolescence to young adulthood Ethnography and adolescent development High-risk settings and successful adolescent development Individual differences and subjectivity Neighborhoods and adolescent development Perceived environment and psychological situation Perceived environment as social context Phenomenological personality theories Phenomenology and personality Protective factors during adolescence Reductionism in psychology Risk factors during adolescence Social contexts and adolescence in China Social contexts and adolescence in the United States Transition to young adulthood in Kenya

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard Jessor
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-57884-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-57885-9
  • Series Print ISSN 2195-089X
  • Series Online ISSN 2195-0903
  • Buy this book on publisher's site