Deviant peer affiliation has long been recognized as a risk factor in determining adolescent further development, but scarce research has examined the developmental trajectories of deviant peer affiliation in at-risk youth. Guided by developmental psychopathology perspectives and differential association theory, this study aimed to: 1) identify heterogeneity in growth trajectories of adolescent deviant peer affiliation; 2) examine whether the growth trajectories differ by types of child abuse; and 3) investigate how the growth trajectories were associated with adolescent substance use. Drawing from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), youth who completed at least one of the age 12, 14, and 16 assessments were examined. Latent class growth analyses indicated three distinctive developmental trajectories of deviant peer affiliation from age 12 to 16: a slightly ascending trajectory class (82.9%); a steep ascending trajectory class (12.9%), and a declining trajectory class (4.2%). Youth who had been emotionally abused were more likely to be in the steep ascending trajectory class, while sexual abuse predicted membership in the declining trajectory class. Additionally, the patterns of deviant peer affiliation trajectories predicted later adolescent substance use: youth who were in the steep ascending trajectory class were more likely to use alcohol and marijuana compared to youth in the other classes. However, tobacco use indicated a slightly different pattern: youth in both the steep ascending and the declining classes had higher likelihoods of tobacco use, compared to those in the slightly ascending trajectory class. Results suggest preventive interventions to improve positive peer relationships.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd
- Child abuse
- Deviant peer affiliation