Advertisement

Problem Behavior Theory over the Years

  • Richard JessorEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)

Abstract

This chapter traces the development of Problem Behavior Theory from the early 1960s to the present and the influences on the author that were responsible for the initial framing of the theory and the various transformations it underwent as successive tests of its adequacy cumulated over time. It is both history of the theory and intellectual biography of the author. In each of the different versions of the theory, systems of variables that constituted the social context, the person, and behavior were articulated to account for variation in both problem and conventional behavior among adolescents and young adults. Figures representing the conceptual structure of each version of the theory, including the latest, are presented. The expansion of the theory to account for developmental change, to encompass adolescent health more broadly, and to establish its generality across age, gender, contexts of disadvantage, historical time, and national boundaries is the thread that runs through the topics in the chapter.

Keywords

Tri-ethnic study Opportunity structure Normative structure Social control structure Problem behavior Transition proneness Protective factors Risk factors 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am indebted to my students and colleagues who have, over the years, contributed immensely to the work described in this chapter. Many are named in the citations and references, but to all of them I am grateful for their ideas and their efforts. Three colleagues, Frances M. Costa, John E. Donovan, and Mark S. Turbin, deserve special mention and warm appreciation for their involvement in our most recent research.

References

  1. Aguilar-Vafaie, M. E., Roshani, M., Hassanabadi, H., Masoudian, Z., & Afruz, G. A. (2011). Risk and protective factors for residential foster care adolescents. Children and Youth. Services Review, 33, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Astatke, H., Black, M. M., & Serpell, R. (2000). Use of Jessor’s theoretical framework of adolescent risk behavior in Ethiopia: Implications for HIV/AIDS prevention. Northeast African Studies, 7, 63–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blau, P. M., Gustad, J. W., Jessor, R., Parnes, H. S., & Wilcock, R. C. (1956). Occupational choice: A conceptual framework. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 9(4), 531–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonino, S., Cattelino, E., & Ciairano, S. (2005). Adolescents and risk: Behaviors, functions, and protective factors. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Ciairano, S., Kliewer, W., & Rabaglietti, E. (2009). Adolescent risk behavior in Italy and the Netherlands: A cross-national study of psychosocial protective factors. European Psychologist, 14, 180–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cloward, R. A., & Ohlin, L. E. (1960). Delinquency and opportunity: A theory of delinquent gangs. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, A. K. (1959). The study of social disorganization and deviant behavior. In R. K. Merton, L. Broom, & L. S. Cottrell Jr. (Eds.), Sociology today: Problems and prospects (pp. 461–484). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Costa, F. (2008). Problem behavior theory: A brief overview. Available at: www.colorado.edu/ibs/Jessor/pb_theory.html.
  9. Costa, F. M., Jessor, R., & Donovan, J. E. (1989). Value on health and adolescent conventionality: A construct validation of a new measure in Problem Behavior Theory. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19(10), 841–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Costa, F. M., Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Fortenberry, J. D. (1995). Early initiation of sexual intercourse: The influence of psychosocial unconventionality. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 5(1), 93–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Costa, F. M., Jessor, R., & Turbin, M. S. (1999). Transition into adolescent problem drinking: The role of psychosocial risk and protective factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60(4), 480–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa, F. M., Jessor, R., & Turbin, M. S. (2007). College student involvement in cigarette smoking: The role of psychosocial and behavioral protection and risk. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 9(2), 213–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa, F. M., Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., Dong, Q., Zhang, H., & Wang, C. (2005). The role of social contexts in adolescence: Context protection and context risk in the U.S. and China. Applied Developmental Science, 9, 67–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52(4), 281–302.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Donovan, J. E. (2005). Problem behavior theory. In C. B. Fisher & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Encyclopedia of applied developmental science (Vol. 2, pp. 872–877). Thousand Oaks, CA: Erudite.Google Scholar
  16. Donovan, J. E., & Jessor, R. (1978). Adolescent problem drinking: Psychosocial correlates in a national sample study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 39(9), 1506–1524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Donovan, J. E., & Jessor, R. (1985). Structure of problem behavior in adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53(6), 890–904.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (1991). Adolescent health behavior and conventionality-unconventionality: An extension of Problem Behavior Theory. Health Psychology, 10(1), 52–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (1993). Structure of health-enhancing behavior in adolescence: A latent-variable approach. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 34(4), 346–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (1999). Adolescent problem drinking: Stability of psychosocial and behavioral correlates across a generation. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60(3), 352–361.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Jessor, L. (1983). Problem drinking in adolescence and young adulthood: A follow-up study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 44(1), 109–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elder, G. H., & Conger, R. D. (2000). Children of the land: Adversity and success in rural America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Elliott, D. S., Menard, S., Rankin, B., Elliott, A., Wilson, W. J., & Huizinga, D. (2006). Good kids from bad neighborhoods: Successful development in social context. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Furstenberg, F. F., Jr., Cook, T. D., Eccles, J., & Eider, G. H. (1999). “Managing to make it”: Urban families and adolescent success. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gruber, H. E., Hammond, K. R., & Jessor, R. (Eds.). (1957). Contemporary approaches to cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hull, C. L. (1943). Principles of behavior: An introduction to behavior theory. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company.Google Scholar
  27. Jessor, R. (1956). Phenomenological personality theories and the data language of psychology. Psychological Review, 63(3), 173–180.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jessor, R. (1958). The problem of reductionism in psychology. Psychological Review, 65(3), 170–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jessor, R. (1976). Predicting time of onset of marijuana use: A developmental study of high school youth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 44(1), 125–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jessor, R. (1983). The stability of change: Psychosocial development from adolescence to young adulthood. In D. Magnusson & V. L. Allen (Eds.), Human development: An interactional perspective (pp. 321–341). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Jessor, R. (1984). Adolescent development and behavioral health. In J. D. Matarazzo, S. M. Weiss, J. A. Herd, & N. E. Miller (Eds.), Behavioral health: A handbook of health enhancement and disease prevention (pp. 69–90). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Jessor, R. (1987a). Problem behavior theory, psychosocial development, and adolescent problem drinking. British Journal of Addiction, 82(4), 331–342.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jessor, R. (1987b). Risky driving and adolescent problem behavior: Theoretical and empirical linkage. Alcohol, Drugs, and Driving, 3, 1–11.Google Scholar
  34. Jessor, R. (1991a). Behavioral science: An emerging paradigm for social inquiry? In R. Jessor (Ed.), Perspectives on behavioral science: The Colorado lectures (pp. 309–316). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  35. Jessor, R. (Ed.). (1991b). Perspectives on behavioral science: The Colorado lectures. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  36. Jessor, R. (1991c). Risk behavior in adolescence: A psychosocial framework for understanding and action. Journal of Adolescent Health, 12(8), 597–605.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jessor, R. (1993). Successful adolescent development among youth in high-risk settings. American Psychologist, 48(2), 117–126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jessor, R. (1996). Ethnographic methods in contemporary perspective. In R. Jessor, A. Colby, & R. A. Shweder (Eds.), Ethnography and human development: Context and meaning in social inquiry (pp. 3–14). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Jessor, R. (2005). Remarks on the changing nature of inquiry. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37(1), 9–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jessor, R. (2008). Description versus explanation in cross-national research on adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43(6), 527–528.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jessor, R., Chase, J. A., & Donovan, J. E. (1980). Psychosocial correlates of marijuana use and problem drinking in a national sample of adolescents. American Journal of Public Health, 70(6), 604–613.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jessor, R., Colby, A., & Shweder, R. A. (Eds.). (1996). Ethnography and human development: Context and meaning in social inquiry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  43. Jessor, R., Costa, F., Jessor, S. L., & Donovan, J. E. (1983). Time of first intercourse: A prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 608–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jessor, R., Costa, F. M., Krueger, P. M., & Turbin, M. S. (2006). A developmental study of heavy episodic drinking among college students: The role of psychosocial and behavioral protective and risk factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(1), 86–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Costa, F. (1986). Psychosocial correlates of marijuana use in adolescence and young adulthood: The past as prologue. Alcohol, Drugs, and Driving, 2, 31–49.Google Scholar
  46. Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Costa, F. (1989). Problem drinking and risky driving among youth: A psychosocial approach to a lifestyle pattern, in Proceedings, International Conference on High Alcohol Consumers and Traffic (pp. 137-152). Paris: INRETS.Google Scholar
  47. Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Costa, F. (1990). Personality, perceived life chances, and adolescent health behavior: An application of Problem Behavior Theory. In K. Hurrelmann & F. Lösel (Eds.), Health hazards in adolescence (pp. 25–41). Hawthorne, NY: Aldine/De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  48. Jessor, R., Donovan, J. E., & Costa, F. M. (1991). Beyond adolescence: Problem behavior and young adult development. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Jessor, R., Graves, T. D., Hanson, R. C., & Jessor, S. L. (1968). Society, personality, and deviant behavior: A study of a tri-ethnic community. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  50. Jessor, R., & Hammond, K. R. (1957). Construct validity and the Taylor Anxiety Scale. Psychological Bulletin, 54(3), 161–170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1973). The perceived environment in behavioral science: Some conceptual issues and some illustrative data. American Behavioral Scientist, 16(6), 801–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1975a). Adolescent development and the onset of drinking: A longitudinal study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 36(1), 27–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1977). Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A longitudinal study of youth. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  54. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1984). Adolescence to young adulthood: A twelve-year prospective study of problem behavior and psychosocial development. In S. A. Mednick, M. Harway, & K. M. Finello (Eds.), Handbook of longitudinal research (Teenage and adult cohorts, Vol. 2, pp. 34–61). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  55. Jessor, R., Jessor, S. L., & Collins, M. I. (1972). On becoming a drinker: Social-psychological aspects of an adolescent transition. In F. A. Seixas (Ed.), Nature and nurture in alcoholism (pp. 199–213). New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  56. Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., & Costa, F. M. (1998a). Protective factors in adolescent health behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(3), 788–800.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., & Costa, F. M. (1998b). Risk and protection in successful outcomes among disadvantaged adolescents. Applied Developmental Science, 2, 194–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., & Costa, F. M. (2010). Predicting developmental change in healthy eating and regular exercise among adolescents in China and the United States: The role of psychosocial and behavioral protection and risk. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(3), 707–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., Costa, F. M., Dong, Q., Zhang, H. C., & Wang, C. H. (2003). Adolescent problem behavior in China and the United States: A cross-national study of psychosocial protective factors. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(3), 329–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Jessor, R., Van Den Bos, J., Vanderryn, J., Costa, F. M., & Turbin, M. S. (1995). Protective factors in adolescent problem behavior: Moderator effects and developmental change. Developmental Psychology, 31(6), 923–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Jessor, R., Young, H. B., Young, E. B., & Tesi, G. (1970). Perceived opportunity, alienation, and drinking behavior among Italian and American youth. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 15(3), 215–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Jessor, S. L., & Jessor, R. (1975b). Transition from virginity to nonvirginity among youth: A social-psychological study over time. Developmental Psychology, 11(4), 473–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Kabiru, C. W., Beguy, D., Ndugwa, R. P., Zulu, E. M., & Jessor, R. (2012). “Making it”: Understanding adolescent resilience in two informal settlements (slums) in Nairobi. Kenya, Child and Youth Services, 33, 12–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lewin, K. (1935). A dynamic theory of personality: Selected papers. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  65. Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  66. Madkour, A. S., Farhat, T., Halpern, C. T., Godeau, E., & Gabhainn, S. N. (2010). Early adolescent sexual initiation as a problem behavior: A comparative study of five nations. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47(4), 389–398.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Merton, R. K. (1957). Social theory and social structure (Rev. and enl.th ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  68. Miller, G. A. (2010). Mistreating psychology in the decades of the brain. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(6), 716–743.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Monahan, K. C., & Hawkins, J. D. (2012). Covariance of problem behaviors in adolescence. Paper presented at IOM Committee on the Science of Adolescence Workshop. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  70. Murray, H. A. (1959). Preparations for the scaffold of a comprehensive system. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science (Vol. 3, pp. 7–54). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  71. Ndugwa, R. P., Kabiru, C. W., Cleland, J., Beguy, D., Egondi, T., Zulu, E. M., et al. (2010). Adolescent problem behavior in Nairobi’s informal settlements: Applying Problem Behavior Theory in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Urban Health, 88(Suppl. 2), 298–317.PubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  72. Parsons, T. (1937). The structure of social action: A study in social theory with special reference to a group of recent European writers. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  73. Rachal, J. V., Williams, J. R., & Brehm, M. L. (1975). A national study of adolescent drinking behavior, attitudes, and correlates. (Rep. No. PB-246-002; NIAAA/NCALI-75/27). Springfield, VA: National Technical Information Service.Google Scholar
  74. Rogers, C. R. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science (Vol. 3, pp. 184–256). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  75. Rotter, J. B. (1954). Social learning and clinical psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company.Google Scholar
  77. Thomas, W. I. (1928). The child in America: Behavior problems and programs. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  78. Turbin, M. S., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (2000). Adolescent cigarette smoking: Health-related behavior or normative transgression? Prevention Science, 1, 115–124.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Turbin, M. S., Jessor, R., Costa, F. M., Dong, Q., Zhang, H. C., & Wang, C. H. (2006). Protective and risk factors in health-enhancing behavior among adolescents in China and the United States: Does social context matter? Health Psychology, 25(4), 445–454.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vazsonyi, A. T., Chen, P., Jenkins, D. D., Burcu, E., Torrente, G., & Sheu, C.-J. (2010). Jessor’s problem behavior theory: Cross-national evidence from Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States. Developmental Psychology, 46(6), 1779–1791.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vazsonyi, A. T., Chen, P., Young, M., Jenkins, D., Browder, S., Kahumoku, E., et al. (2008). A test of Jessor’s problem behavior theory in a Eurasian and a Western European developmental context. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43(6), 555–564.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations