The relationship of adolescents' expectations and values to delinquency, hard drug use, and unprotected sexual intercourse

Joseph P. Allen, Bonnie J. Leadbeater, J. Lawrence Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examined adolescents' expectations and values about how competent behaviors would work for them in difficult social situations and explored the relation of these appraisals to adolescents' delinquency, drug use, and sexual intercourse without use of adequate birth control. Several lines of research on the determinants of adolescent achievement motivation, social competence, and various problem behaviors are integrated within a unified framework based on both motivational and cognitive-social learning theories. One hundred adolescents at-risk for problematic behaviors, aged 15½–18, received structured interviews measuring their expectations of self-efficacy in performing socially competent behaviors, their expectations about the outcomes of these behaviors, their values toward these behaviors, their perceptions of the values of peers, and their identification with the values of important adults. Adolescents also reported their recent levels of delinquency, hard drug use, and unprotected sexual activity. Adolescents' expectations and values were significantly related to all three problem behaviors; males' low efficacy expectations and females' lack of identification with an adult's values were the strongest correlates of problem behaviors. Adolescents' expectations and values are considered as potentially important aspects of adolescents' models of themselves in social interactions, which may mediate the link between problematic family relationships in childhood and deviant behavior in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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