Parent-Child Mutual Affect and Friendships during Middle Childhood as Predictors of Adolescent Deviant Behavior

Open Access
Culotta, Carmen M.
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Alysia Blandon, Thesis Advisor
  • Alysia Yvonne Blandon, Thesis Advisor
  • adolescence
  • deviance
  • friendships
  • mutual affect
The current study examined how parent-child positive mutual affect, deviant friends, and friendship quality during middle childhood relates to levels of deviance during adolescence. Existing theoretical and empirical research suggests that the link between parent-child mutual affect and deviant behavior during adolescence may be mediated by children’s selection of deviant friends during middle school. The current study, framed by social bond theory, examines whether children with high friendship quality may be less susceptible to the influence of a deviant friend. This study used a subsample of participants (n = 500) from the NICHD Study of Early Childcare Youth Development dataset. The results indicate that parent-child positive mutual affect during 5th grade is related to the levels of deviance exhibited by children and their best friends during 6th grade. Additionally, best friend’s level of deviance during 6th grade was also related to study child’s level of deviance at age 15. Friendship quality was unrelated to any study variables. Implications of these findings are discussed.