Mediating Role of Social Integration in the Relationship between Childhood Adversity and Adolescent Deviant Behavior

  • 趙 洛鑫

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Introduction: Childhood adversities are associated with deviant behavior in adolescence. According to Hirschi’s social control theory, when people form close link to part of society, they will be also related with other society more closely. Social integration is defined as individuals' involvement in social groups, including classmates or friends, which means adolescent comply with group members, those involvement take lend meaning and purpose for life, these bonds can also lead to better self-control, decreasing the risk of criminal or deviant behaviors. We hypothesized that the pathway from childhood adversities to adolescent deviant behaviors may be through social integration in adolescence, which can be further categorized as psychological and structural integration.
Method: We used data from the Taiwan Education Panel Survey (TEPS), which is a longitudinal study started in 2001, using a three-stage cluster sampling design to select adolescents representative in Taiwan. We used a sample of 4261 students that were followed for three more waves other than baseline Wave1 (2001, age13): Wave2 (2003, age15), Wave3 (2005, age17), and Wave4 (2007, age18). Childhood adversity was assessed using six items in Wave 1 by asking adolescents whether they have experienced various types of childhood adversities before age 12. Deviant behavior was assessed with six questions in Wave 4. Social integration was assessed in Wave1 and Wave3. Psychological integration was assessed by asking them about how they felt about their school, while structural integration was assessed by whether they participated school activities, such as school team, club, part-time job, and volunteering. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to model the pathway from childhood adversity to adolescent deviant behavior via social integration.
Results: We found that the pathway from childhood adversity to deviant behavior is through psychological integration. No significant effect was found in the pathway from adversity to structural integration. Psychological integration is negatively associated with deviant behavior. However, social integration is positively associated with deviant behavior.
Discussion: Effects on deviant behaviors in adolescent by childhood adversity are through psychological integration, not structural integration. Findings of psychological integration are consistent with social control theory suggesting that adolescents who feel positive for school, they form some social bonds and have close attachments better, may have greater levels of self-control, and reduce the risk of having deviant behaviors. However, structural integration may have positive and negative effect on deviant behaviors. For example, having part-time jobs might be associated with negative peer influence and in turn increase the possibility of engaging deviant behavior.
Conclusion: The contributions of social integration is critical to an adolescent’s development between childhood adversity and deviant behaviors. We suggest that those adolescents who had exposed to childhood adversities should be helped by getting more possibilities for social interaction, for improving their communication skills to form supportive social relationships to achieve better health.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorCarol Strong (Supervisor)

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