A test of Jessor's problem behavior theory in a Eurasian and a Western European developmental context.

TitreA test of Jessor's problem behavior theory in a Eurasian and a Western European developmental context.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsVazsonyi, AT, Chen, P, Young, M, Jenkins, D, Browder, S, Kahumoku, E, Pagava, K, Phagava, H, Jeannin, A, Michaud, P-A
JournalJ Adolesc Health
Date Published2008 Dec
Mots-clésAdolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Alcohol Drinking, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Female, Georgia (Republic), Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Psychological Theory, Random Allocation, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Factors, Social Behavior Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders, Switzerland

PURPOSE: The current study tested the applicability of Jessor's problem behavior theory (PBT) in national probability samples from Georgia and Switzerland. Comparisons focused on (1) the applicability of the problem behavior syndrome (PBS) in both developmental contexts, and (2) on the applicability of employing a set of theory-driven risk and protective factors in the prediction of problem behaviors.

METHODS: School-based questionnaire data were collected from n = 18,239 adolescents in Georgia (n = 9499) and Switzerland (n = 8740) following the same protocol. Participants rated five measures of problem behaviors (alcohol and drug use, problems because of alcohol and drug use, and deviance), three risk factors (future uncertainty, depression, and stress), and three protective factors (family, peer, and school attachment). Final study samples included n = 9043 Georgian youth (mean age = 15.57; 58.8% females) and n = 8348 Swiss youth (mean age = 17.95; 48.5% females). Data analyses were completed using structural equation modeling, path analyses, and post hoc z-tests for comparisons of regression coefficients.

RESULTS: Findings indicated that the PBS replicated in both samples, and that theory-driven risk and protective factors accounted for 13% and 10% in Georgian and Swiss samples, respectively in the PBS, net the effects by demographic variables. Follow-up z-tests provided evidence of some differences in the magnitude, but not direction, in five of six individual paths by country.

CONCLUSION: PBT and the PBS find empirical support in these Eurasian and Western European samples; thus, Jessor's theory holds value and promise in understanding the etiology of adolescent problem behaviors outside of the United States.

Alternate URL


Alternate JournalJ Adolesc Health
Citation Key / SERVAL ID2703
PubMed ID19027643
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