How do academic self-efficacy and deviant peers relate to parental rejection and externalizing behavior?
Oosterhout, N.M.H. van
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Background: Previous research provided little insight into the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between parental rejection and adolescents’ externalizing behavior. The current longitudinal study, therefore, examined to what extent academic self-efficacy and deviant peers are respectively important mediators and moderators within this relationship. Method: Dutch adolescents (N = 2.229) between the ages of 10 and 16 participated in the first three measurements of the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Adolescents reported the extent to which they experienced parental rejection, scored themselves on academic self-efficacy and externalizing behavior, and associated with deviant peers. Results: Parental rejection was associated with externalizing behavior but did not increase it between the ages of 10 and 16. Furthermore, the association of parental rejection and externalizing behavior did not differ between adolescents with deviant peers and adolescents without deviant peers. Finally, deviant peers were negatively and stronger associated with externalizing behavior than academic self-efficacy. Conclusions: Findings suggest that interventions targeting prevention or tackling delinquency in 10-to-16-year-old Dutch adolescents should focus on peer influences, as the impact of peers on delinquency appears to be important during this phase of adolescence.