Neither Too Sweet nor Too Sour: Problem Peers, Maternal Control, and Problem Behavior in African American Adolescents

Craig A. Mason, Ana Mari Cauce, Nancy Gonzales, Yumi Hiraga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether maternal control protects African American adolescents from the negative influence of problem peers. Two forms of control were examined, behavioral control and psychological control. It was hypothesized that there would be a curvilinear relation between control and adolescent problem behavior, with the strength of the relationship and the amount of control optimal for adolescent development varying by the level of peer problem behavior. In general, data supported this model, particularly in regard to behavioral control, where the predicted curvilinear interaction occurred even after controlling for initial levels of problem behavior. The predicted curvilinear interaction between psychological control and peer problem behavior was statistically significant if initial levels of problem behavior were not controlled for but was not significant after controlling for initial problem behavior. These findings suggest that high-quality parenting can play a modest but critical role in the face of environmental adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2115-2130
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Volume67
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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