Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




April G. Thomas


Stable friendships in adolescence are associated with a variety of benefits such as strengthened social skills (Newcomb & Bagwell, 1995) and positive social adjustment (Hartup & Stevens, 1997), while unstable friendships are associated with a variety of problem behaviors such as delinquency and substance use (Miller, 2002). Further, greater friendship stability is associated with greater friendship homophily (i.e., similarity among friends; Carrington, 2015), and stable and homophilous friendships of delinquent adolescents may have deleterious consequences due to modeled and reinforced problem behaviors. However, few studies have explored how friendship stability and homophily operate specifically among justice-involved youths. Using data collected through the Crossroads Study, the present secondary data analysis sought to examine how friendship stability and homophily of problem behaviors, age, and gender might relate to first-time juvenile offendersâ?? engagement in re-offending and substance use. Data were analyzed through a multilevel modeling framework. Results revealed that juveniles with greater arrest and substance use homophily in their close friendship groups engaged in greater re-offending and use of substances. Moreover, justice-involved juveniles in more mixed-gender friendships used substances less than those in more same-gender friendships. Results from the present study reflect an integration of legal and developmental approaches to assessing how the nature of peer relationships in adolescence may exacerbate or attenuate justice-involved juvenilesâ?? engagement in problem behaviors. The present findings have implications for guiding justice system programming and interventions aimed at decreasing justice-involved juvenilesâ?? re-offending and substance use.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

85 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Anna Dmitriyevna Drozdova