Problem Behavior Theory and Adolescent Development

  • Richard JessorEmail author
  • Shirley L. Jessor
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


This chapter is a summary of the theory and research findings from the Socialization of Problem Behavior in Youth Study. It reviews the contributions of the Personality System variables and the Perceived Environment System variables in Problem Behavior Theory to an explanation of problem behavior in samples of adolescents in High School and young people in College in a university community in the Rocky Mountain region. Although each theoretical system provides a significant account of problem behavior variation, in both samples and for both sexes, their combined contribution is larger than that of either alone. The pattern of findings supports the usefulness of the new concept, ‘problem behavior syndrome,’ to reflect the co-variation that obtained among various problem behaviors in both samples. It also supports the new concept of ‘transition proneness,’ the pattern of theoretical attributes reflecting a readiness to make a developmental transition. The chapter elaborates the developmental and predictive results of this four-wave, longitudinal study and makes clear, for the first time, the developmental relevance of Problem Behavior Theory.


Problem Behavior Theory Personality system Perceived environment system Developmental curves Transition proneness Problem behavior syndrome Distal structure Proximal structure 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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