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Single Parents, Stepparents, and the Susceptibility of Adolescents to Antisocial Peer Pressure

Laurence Steinberg
Child Development
Vol. 58, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 269-275
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130307
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130307
Page Count: 7
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Abstract

According to a recent report, adolescents living in single-parent households are more likely to engage in deviant activity than are youngsters living with both natural parents, or in single-parent, extended households, allegedly because the presence of an additional adult provides greater control of youngsters' behavior. In the present study, fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth graders from 1 of 3 family structures (both natural parents, mother alone, or 1 natural parent and a stepparent) were compared with respect to their susceptibility to peer pressure to engage in deviant activity. All comparisons controlled for sex, age, socioeconomic status, maternal employment, and patterns of family decision making. Youngsters living with both natural parents were less susceptible to pressure from their friends to engage in deviant behavior than youngsters living in other family structures. More important, youngsters growing up in stepfamilies-in the presence of an additional adult-were equally at risk for involvement in deviant behavior as were their peers growing up in single-parent households.

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