Lori Delale-O'Connor, Northwestern University
Abstract: Adolescents live simultaneously in multiple contexts: families, peer groups, schools and neighborhoods. The forces of each of these contexts affect the way in which adolescents are (or are not) able to develop positively. Individuals are less likely to subscribe to the belief that these contexts cohere in their lives, however aggregate data (and in particular stratification theory) shows a tendency toward greater coherence across contexts. This study attempts to reconcile those two views. Using data from youth ages 11 to 18 years old who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we examine the coupling between these contexts. Through the use of nationally representative, non-adolescent reported data, this study is an improved replication of Cook, Herman, Phillips and Settersten (2002 Child Devleopment 73(4): 1283-1309). Each context (family, peer group, neighborhood, and school) is described using structural and process variables. Scaling for positive adolescent development, we assess some of the ways in which these contexts affect both the average individual as well as the average member of aggregates such as schools and neighborhoods.