Risky Adolescent Behaviors: A Structural Equation and OLS Examination of How Family Characteristics Directly and Indirectly Affect Adolescent Outcomes

Eileen Trzcinski, Wayne State University

This paper presents a theoretical framework for examining how family characteristics in middle childhood and in adolescence affect adolescent outcomes. The theory explicitly considers the effects of employment, income, program participation and the role of the relationship between the adolescent and both parents. The empirical analyzes are based on longitudinal surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Surveys of Program Dynamics. The analyzes are presented in two parts. The first part uses standard ordinary least squares estimation; the second part estimates a series of structural equation models based on the underlying processes outlined in the theoretical framework. The results suggest that parental employment and income are more strongly associated with intermediary variables, such as adolescent attitudes towards school and perceived burden of home responsibilities, than with direct outcome variables, such as criminal offences and problems with school.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture