Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Christopher J. Trentacosta


Deviant peer influence during adolescence has been found to predict substance use, delinquency, and aggression. This study examined youth characteristics (prosociality, daring, and verbal ability) along with peer influence (deviant talk) as predictors of antisocial behavior. Peer influence, in the form of deviant talk, was also examined as a potential mediator between youth characteristics and antisocial behavior. The current study added to the literature by examining a slope measure of deviant talk as an organizing feature of peer discussions. Data were collected prospectively from a subsample of 178 youths participating in the Pitt Mother and Child Project. Findings supported daring, verbal ability, and percent deviant talk as direct predictors of antisocial behavior while controlling for a number of risk factors. Evidence of a mediated relationship was not found. The findings suggest independent pathways from youth characteristics and peer influence to antisocial behavior.

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