ERIC Number: ED338962
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Toward an Explanation of Age Trends in Problem Behavior.
Osgood, D. Wayne
Problem behavior may be defined as behavior that is socially defined as a problem, a source of concern, or as undesirable by the norms of conventional society and the institutions of adult authority, and its occurrence usually elicits some kind of social control response. Key elements of problem behavior are: (1) problem behaviors are rare until early adolescence; (2) the rate then climbs to a peak level; (3) thereafter the problem behavior becomes less frequent for the remainder of the lifespan (unless it ceases to be seen as a problem behavior), and (4) the timing of these trends is different for different problem behaviors in respects such as the typical age of initiation and the rate and timing of decline. Problem behavior varies with age because of social norms that children be given increasing independence as they grow older. At each age, those adolescents who are less closely supervised are more likely to engage in problem behavior. Also relevant to this point is research that time spent socializing with peers in informal settings, away from adult supervision, is related to problem behavior. The question that remains is whether the relationship between independence and problem behavior, combined with the similarity in their age trends, is sufficient to account for age trends in problem behavior. Nine figures and two tables are attached. (LLL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).