Longitudinal associations between delinquency, depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescence : testing the moderating effect of sex and family socioeconomic status
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofJournal of criminal justice ; vol. 62, pp. 58-65.
Purpose To examine the cross-lagged associations between delinquency (nonviolent and violent), depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescence and to test the moderating effect of sex and family socioeconomic status (SES). Methods Participants (n=1,515) were from a birth cohort in the Canadian province of Quebec. Autoregressive cross-lagged panel analyses were used to examine the associations between delinquency (nonviolent and violent), depression and anxiety symptoms from ages 15 to 17 years, while taking into account conduct and emotional problems at ages 10-12 years. Results Findings suggest that delinquency (violent delinquency especially) and depression symptoms may develop according to a spiraling model, such that conduct problems in childhood give rise to depression symptoms in mid-adolescence, which in turn, contribute to more delinquent acts at the end of adolescence. Family SES, but not sex, had a moderating effect on the paths. We found that anxiety symptoms at age 15 years were associated with nonviolent delinquency at age 17 years when family SES was low, and that violent delinquency at age 15 years was associated with anxiety symptoms at age 17 years when family SES was high. Conclusions Delinquency and emotional problems do not develop independently from each other; both dimensions should be examined simultaneously.