Adolescent abstention from delinquency

N Mercer, Loes Keijsers, Elisabetta Crocetti, STJ Branje, WHJ Meeus

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Research consistently identifies a group of adolescents who refrain from minor delinquency entirely. Known as abstainers, studying these adolescents is an underexplored approach to understanding adolescent minor delinquency. In this paper, we tested hypotheses regarding adolescent delinquency abstention derived from the developmental taxonomy model and social control theory in 497 adolescents (283 boys) aged 13–18 comparing three groups of adolescents: abstainers, experimenters, and a delinquent group. We found that the relation between adolescent abstention and personal characteristics (i.e., conscientiousness and anxiety) was (partially) mediated by the amount of time spent with peers. Furthermore, the level of best friend delinquency moderated the relation between time spent with peers and delinquency abstention. Results support aspects of both theoretical frameworks.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)947-962
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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