Mediating the Peer Influence Effect with Facets of Criminal Thought Process and Content in a Group of Early Adolescents: Replication and Extension

Abstract

Prior research indicates that criminal thought content and criminal thought process mediate the peer influence effect (peer delinquency → participant delinquency). This study sought to model the temporal order of these two categories of antisocial cognition in mediating peer influence. Responses provided by 1,795 (847 male, 948 female) members of the Gang Resistance Education and Training study (mean age = 12.11 years) on measures of criminal thought content (negative attitude toward the police) and criminal thought process (proactive criminal thinking in the form of neutralizing techniques) were analyzed. Only the “content before process” model achieved significance, however. Thus, while peer associations may stimulate criminal thought content and criminal thought process, the effect on criminal thought content may be more proximal and the effect on criminal thought process may be mediated by criminal thought content.

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Correspondence to Glenn D. Walters.

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Study approved by the Kutztown University Institutional Review Board.

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This is a secondary data analysis, but the authors of the original GREAT study did obtain informed consent from parents and informed assent from participating children.

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Walters, G.D. Mediating the Peer Influence Effect with Facets of Criminal Thought Process and Content in a Group of Early Adolescents: Replication and Extension. J Police Crim Psych 35, 207–218 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-019-09360-3

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Keywords

  • Peer influence effect
  • Criminal thought content and process
  • Proactive criminal thinking
  • Negative attitude toward the police