Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Previous research indicates that the majority of today's adolescents are engaging in or have engaged in some type of rebellious risky behavior, such as consuming alcohol or using tobacco or other drugs (Haynie, 2003; Kann et al., 2000; Loper, 2000; Markey, Markey, & Tinsley, 2003; Patton, McMorris, Donath, & Catalano, 2004; Rickwood, 2005; Steinberg & Morris, 2001). In order to decrease levels of adolescent engagement in these rebellious behaviors, the factors of influence on these behaviors must be identified and understood. While studies in the past have focused on individual factors that influence adolescent involvement in these behaviors, the present study incorporated multiple factors and examined the influences of pubertal development; the personality factors of extraversion, conscientiousness, and neuroticism; the parental attachment factors of trust, alienation, and communication; and the peer attachment factors of trust, alienation, and communication on engagement in rebellious risky behaviors among adolescent males and females. The present study also determined which of these factors or combination of factors most strongly influenced adolescent involvement in rebellious risky behaviors. Significant positive correlations emerged between the factors of pubertal development and parental alienation and adolescent engagement in these behaviors. Significant negative correlations emerged between the factors of conscientiousness, parental trust, and parental communication and adolescent involvement in these behaviors. The teen's reported level of parental trust was found to most strongly influence his or her likelihood of engaging in rebellious behaviors, while the combination of parental trust and level of pubertal development had an even greater influence on engagement in rebellious behaviors. While no significant differences emerged between levels of engagement among males and females, it was found that teens in the twelfth grade were significantly more likely to engage in these behaviors than were teens in the ninth grade.



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