Psychosocial risk in adolescence: Individual differences, problem behaviour and victimisation in a young adolescent cohort

    Research output: Working paper

    Abstract

    Early findings relating to individual difference, crime and health are presented from a major new longitudinal study of adolescent development in Edinburgh. 4300 boys and girls (aged 12-13) completed self-report questionnaires containing two abbreviated measures of personality (assessing dimensions of social alienation and impulsivity) and one of self-esteem, together with measures of offending, victimisation and experience of adverse health behaviours. Results suggest that, even in early adolescence, substantial numbers of young people have lifetime experience of both problem behaviour and victimisation and that the various measures tended to co-occur to a moderate extent. Subjects reporting the most problems tended to possess a personality configuration characterised by high levels of impulsivity and social alienation, and lower levels of selfesteem. Whilst important gender differences emerged in terms of global personality scores and behavioural measures (males reporting more ‘extreme’ values for both), the degree of problem co-occurrence and its association with personality is virtually identical across gender. Findings can be interpreted to an extent with reference to recent theories relating low self-control to generalised risk behaviour. The strong association of risk and personality with victimisation however, forces a re-consideration of the mutual (and perhaps gendered) interaction between individual differences and environment as regards adolescent psychosocial risk
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000

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