Parents and Peer Group as Mediators of the Effect of Community Structure on Adolescent Problem Behavior

Ronald L. Simons, Christine Johnson, Jay Beaman, Rand D. Conger, Les B. Whitbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

165 Scopus citations


Used a sample of 207 single-parent families residing in 104 small, Midwestern communities to test hypotheses regarding the link between community context and adolescent conduct problems and psychological distress. For boys, community disadvantage had a direct affect on psychological distress, while it indirectly boosted the probability of conduct problems by disrupting parenting and increasing affiliation with deviant peers. Community disadvantage was unrelated to the deviant behavior or emotional well-being of girls. Proportion of single-parent households in the community had a direct effect on girls' conduct problems. It also contributed indirectly to girls' conduct problems by increasing the probability of involvement with deviant peers. Possible explanations for these gender differences are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-171
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1996



  • Adolescent problem behavior
  • Community disadvantage
  • Community structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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