The importance of friends during the developmental periods of childhood and adolescence is widely accepted and there is reason to believe that deviant peers play an important role in influencing the experiences and outcomes of young people aging out of foster care. This article uses Latent Class Analysis to explore the role that deviant peers play in the lives of these young people by empirically examining the heterogeneity of deviant peer affiliations in a sample of youth aging out of care. A three class solution exhibited the best fit and the classes consisted of youth with low, medium, and high levels of deviant peer affiliations. Using a range of covariates to validate the classes, we found that youth exhibiting high levels of deviant peer affiliations were more likely to be fired from a job, to possess a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, to report higher levels of substance use, and to report being arrested than youth in the other two classes. Youth in the low deviant peer affiliation class exhibited higher levels of family support and lower levels of neighborhood disorder than youth in the other two classes. The research, policy, and practice implications of these findings are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science