Essay On The Role Of Environment In Personality Development: “Poverty, Parenting, Peer, And Neighborhood Influences On Young Adolescent Antisocial Behavior”
In “Poverty, Parenting, Peer, and Neighborhood Influences on Young Adolescent Antisocial Behavior” (2001), Mary Keegan Eamon examines the relationship between poverty and antisocial behavior in adolescents. Using a longitudinal data sample of almost one thousand children between the ages of ten and twelve. The subjects environment, socioeconomic status and household parenting style were recorded. The author revisited the children two years later and concluded that for at-risk social groups, with high “environmental risks”, strict, traditional and authoritarian parenting approaches resulted in lower levels of antisocial behavior.
Eaman defines antisocial behavior as actions that violate laws societal norms (Eamon, 2001, p. 1). Antisocial behavior involves typical adolescent delinquent activity, including skipping school, doing drugs and stealing. According to Eamon, it is often associated with psychiatric disorders. Moreover, an adolescents environment can put them at risk for developing anti-social behavior, particularly important as contributing factors include poor parenting, negative peer and neighborhood influences, and lower socioeconomic status (Eamon, 2001, p.2). However, the effects of poverty and other environmental factors on antisocial behavior have not been defined or understood. Using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model (1995) as a theoretical framework and lens, Eamon investigates the influence of a adolescents environmental influences social deviancy. Brofenbrenner’s ecological systems model looks at the ways a persons development is determined by multiple environmental interactions, including school, peer groups, neighborhood and family (Eamon, 2001, p. 3).
Using data analysis and inspecting the results, focusing on parenting strategies, the study found that despite negative neighborhood and peer pressure influences, adolescents with strict parents that offered “high emotional support” did not engage in high rates of antisocial behavior (Eamon, 2001, p. 5-6). These children had parents that were around and used “authoritarian” punishments. By far, the adolescents with little parental supervisions engaged in higher rates of delinquency and antisocial behavior (Eamon, 2001, p. 8). This results and conclusion seem to be intuitive and predictable. Parental discipline is extremely important to mediate antisocial behavior. Before school, friends and neighborhood, individuals learn much of their values from their parents. This study did show the observable and measurable importance environment, and in particular parenting, has on personality development.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1995). Developmental ecology through space and time: A future perspective. Examining lives in context: Perspectives on the ecology of human development, 619, 647.
Eamon, M. K. (2002). Poverty, parenting, peer, and neighborhood influences on young adolescent antisocial behavior. Journal of Social Service Research,28(1), 1-23.