Rural and non-rural African American youth: Does context matter in the etiology of problem behaviors?

Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Maureen A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The current study provides new information on the etiology of adolescent problem behaviors in African American youth by testing the importance of known predictors, namely parenting measures (monitoring, support, and communication), peers, and neighborhood characteristics across rural and non-rural developmental contexts. More specifically, the study examined whether rural versus non-rural developmental contexts moderated the relationships between known predictors and a variety of problem behaviors (alcohol use, drug use, delinquency, and violence). Data were collected from N = 687 rural and N = 182 non-rural African American adolescents (mean age = 15.8 years). Findings indicate that both parenting constructs and peer deviance had significant effects on problem behaviors and that these effects were consistent across rural and non-rural developmental contexts. The study results are discussed in terms of their implications for ecological frameworks for testing problem behavior etiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-811
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported through grants to the first author by USDA (National Research Initiative, Competitive Grant Program Agreement No. 00-35401-9256) and by an award from the Auburn University Competitive Research Grant Program. A previous version of the paper was presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Society of Criminology in Los Angeles, CA (November 1–4, 2006).


  • African American adolescents
  • Family process
  • Neighborhood effects
  • Parenting
  • Rural versus non-rural
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Rural and non-rural African American youth: Does context matter in the etiology of problem behaviors?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this