Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology
Adolescence; Student characteristics; Deviant behavior; School climate; Risky behavior; School belonging
Juvenile delinquents; Deviant behavior--Social aspects
This dissertation is an investigation of the influence of individual characteristics and school climate on the participation in deviant behaviors. The literature review provides a review of adolescent development and theories that guide the understanding of the different social and environmental factors that influence an adolescent's participation in deviant behavior. Additionally, the impact of adolescent participation in deviant behavior will be reviewed. Using data gathered from Middle and High School students who completed surveys administered by a large, Midwestern, urban school district, the influence of gender, ethnicity, age, school level free/reduced lunch status, school level performance on standardized testing, and school level perception of school climate on the participation in risky behaviors were examined. For the purpose of this study, 2 different samples were used. The first sample included 15,299 Middle School students and16, 390 High School students. For the second sample, the student reported data was aggregated to the school level representing each of 42 schools. One multiple regression was used to examine the extent to which student level data of gender, ethnicity, and age predicted student participation in risky behaviors. Another multiple regression examined the extent to which student data aggregated to the school level of school level status (middle or high school), school level perception of school climate, school performance on standardized testing, and free/reduced lunch status predicted students' self report of risky behaviors. Results reflected that gender, ethnicity, and age were significant predictors of participation in risky behaviors such that males more frequently participated in risky behaviors than females, whites more frequently participated in risky behaviors than racial and ethnic minorities, and older students more frequently participated in risky behaviors than younger students. Regarding results at the school level, student data aggregated to the school level of school level status (middle or high school), school level perception of school climate, school performance on standardized testing, and free/reduced lunch status predicted students' self report of risky behaviors, these results were mixed. School level status was shown to be the only significant predictor of participation in risky behaviors. However, because of high correlations between the free/reduced lunch status and standardized test scores variables a second set of analyses was conducted in which standardized test scores were removed. This regression equation reflected that school level status and school climate were significant predictors of participation in risky behaviors. These results are consistent with prior research.
Damron-Bell, Jessica, "The development of deviant behavior in adolescents : the influence of student characteristics and school climate." (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 309.