Home > The structure of problem behaviours among Irish adolescents.

Grube, Joel W and Morgan, Mark (1990) The structure of problem behaviours among Irish adolescents. British Journal of Addiction, 85, (5), pp. 667-675.

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Problem behaviour theory proposes that adolescent substance use and other problem behaviours comprise a single dimension reflecting a general underlying tendency towards deviance. This general deviance hypothesis was tested with survey data obtained/row 2731 adolescents/row Dublin, Ireland. A series of hierarchical maximum likelihood factor analyses indicated that three specific factors were necessary to account for the co-variation among problem behaviour measures. These factors corresponded to substance use (drinking, smoking, marijuana use, and other drug use), relatively minor problem behaviours (swearing, lying), and relatively serious problem behaviours (stealing, vandalism). Contrary to the general deviance hypothesis, a second order factor representing general deviance accounted for only 14% of the variance in substance use, on the average, as opposed to 74% of the variance in minor and serious problem behaviours.

These findings thus indicate that substance use among these Irish adolescents is relatively independent of a general tendency toward deviance. They also suggest that the general deviance hypothesis, as it usually is applied, may be culturally specific and relevant only for adolescents from the United States and similar cultural contexts.

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