(substance abuse, delinquency, and school dropout). Young people who feel they
are not a part of society and not bound by its rules, who do not believe in
trying to be successful or responsible, or who take an actively rebellious
stance toward society are at higher risk of drug abuse, delinquency, and school
dropout (Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Kandel, 1982; Bachman, Lloyd, and O'Malley,
who engage in the problem behaviors (substance abuse, delinquency, violence,
teenage pregnancy, and school dropout).
Young people who associate with peers who engage in problem behaviors -
delinquency, substance abuse, violent activity, sexual activity, or dropping out
of school - are much more likely to engage in the same behaviors (Barnes and
Welte, 1986; Farrington, 1991; Cairns, Cairns, Neckerman, Gest, and Gairepy,
1988; Elliott et al., 1989).
association is one of the most consistent predictors that research has
identified. Even when young people come from well-managed families and do not
experience other risk factors, just spending time with friends who engage in
problem behaviors greatly increases the risk of developing similar problems.
attitudes toward the problem behavior (substance abuse, delinquency, teenage
pregnancy, and school dropout).
During their elementary school years, children usually express anti-drug,
anti-crime, and prosocial attitudes, and have difficulty imagining why people
use drugs, commit crimes, or drop out of school. In middle school, however,
their attitudes often shift toward greater acceptance of delinquency behaviors
as others they know participate in such activities. This acceptance places them
at higher risk (Kandel et al., 1978; Huesmann and Eron, 1986).
initiation of problem behaviors (substance abuse, delinquency, violence, teenage
pregnancy, and school dropout). The
earlier young people drop out of school, begin using drugs, commit crimes, and
become sexually active, the greater the likelihood that they will have chronic
problems with these behaviors later in life (Elliot et al., 1986). Research
shows, for example, that young people who initiate drug use before the age of 15
are at twice the risk of have drug problems as those adolescents who wait until
after the age of 19 (Robins and Przybeck, 1985).
factors (substance abuse, delinquency, and violence). Constitutional factors
that contribute to problem behaviors may have a biological or physiological
basis (Hawkins and Lam, 1987). These factors are often seen in young people
exhibiting such behaviors as sensation seeking, low harm-avoidance, and lack of
impulse control. These factors appear to increase the risk of young people
abusing drugs, engaging in delinquent behavior, and committing violent acts.