Perceived social support for prosocial, unconventional and antisocial behaviour in young adolescents.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Moffitt (1993) proposed two trajectories for the development of criminal behaviour; one was life-course-persistent offenders with long histories of developmental and behavioural problems and the other was normally developing adolescence-limited offenders who engaged in criminal behaviour for a brief period during the teen years. Moffitt suggested that adolescence-limited offenders mimicked the behaviour of their life-course-persistent contemporaries in order to access the trappings of adulthood, a sign of the “maturity gap” that is hypothesised to occur between physical maturity and social acceptance into adult roles. Consistent with this, Bukowskiet al. (2000) found support for an increased attractiveness of antisocial peers during the adolescent years. The goal of the present study was to examine how young adolescents believe others would view different kinds of behaviour. Subjects from a longitudinal study on low socioeconomic families in Christchurch, NZ, completed a questionnaire where they indicated what they believed others would think if they engaged in pro-social, unconventional, and antisocial behaviours. Adolescents rated how they thought parents, same-sex peers, and attractive opposite-sex peers would perceive the different behaviours, and also indicated how they would perceive the same behaviours in an opposite-sex peer. Results showed that, overall, the sample did not think others would approve of antisocial behaviour, and that they would not approve of antisocial behaviour in an opposite-sex friend. However, differences in perceived approval were found when comparisons were made between boys and girls, and across variations in parenting styles of the adolescent’s caregivers. Differences were also found across indicators of different developmental trajectories, such that those youth who are probably on the life-course persistent trajectory expected less disapproval of antisocial behaviour in others than youth who are probably not on that trajectory. These results are partially consistent with Moffitt’s theory.