The role of economic strain on adolescent delinquency: A microsocial process model

Sabina Low, Ryan Sinclair, Joann Wu Shortt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The current study examines the role of economic strain as a moderator of the microsocial processes influencing younger siblings' delinquency (externalizing behavior and substance use) in a longitudinal design. The younger siblings (122 younger brothers and 122 younger sisters) were from 244 families with same-sex biological siblings. Structural equation modeling was utilized to examine a process model whereby mothers' harsh/inconsistent parenting and older sibling delinquency influence younger siblings' delinquent behavior via sibling aggression and delinquent peer affiliation. Findings suggest that indirect mechanisms vary as a function of economic strain, with sibling aggression having a stronger, more detrimental effect on adolescent delinquency in economically strained families. Data suggest that familial economic conditions contextualize the relative roles of parenting, sibling, and peer processes in the transmission of risk to adolescent delinquency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-584
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Delinquency
  • Family relations
  • Siblings
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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