Delinquent and aggressive youth are often aggregated in intervention programs for treatment. Aggregation is cost effective and efficient, yet recent research has suggested that youth who are treated together for antisocial behavior may experience negative effects through an informal process called deviancy training. Deviancy training occurs when peers reinforce each other for delinquent or aggressive talk or behavior, and as a result, problem behavior increases. The majority of research on deviancy training has been conducted with boys. This study examined gender differences in peer support for delinquency in a clinical setting, as well as gender differences in treatment effects of the clinical program. Results suggested that highly delinquent girls may be more susceptible to deviancy training than are highly delinquent boys. Highly delinquent girls received more peer support than highly delinquent boys, and also experienced less positive change in problem behaviors. Boys who were low in delinquency seemed most susceptible to peer contagion effects, and seemed to benefit least from the treatment program. Developmental and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
Cardoos, Stephanie L., "Gender Differences in Deviancy Training in a Clinical Setting" (2006). Psychology Honors Papers. Paper 2.
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