ADOLESCENT DEVIANT BEHAVIOR EXAMINED FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Human Development and Family Science
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Researchers have been trying to understand the causes of deviant behaviors for decades. While there is a solid foundation in the past work done in the fields of psychology and criminology, there is also significant work being done in the area of evolutionary behavior to try and explain why deviant behaviors occur. The past research done in the area of evolutionary behavior theory was fairly thorough, so replications were used in this study to further clarify previously unclear results. An additional exploratory analysis was used to expand on the previous findings related to the Big Five Personality Traits and Life History Strategies in regards to their influence of deviant behaviors and low self-control. The current study used a convenience sample of around 900 college-age youth to examine the relationship between life history strategies and parental bonding, life history strategies and deviant behaviors, and life history strategies and low self-control. This study also considered how the Big 5 personality constructs and life history strategies impact both deviant behaviors and low self-control behaviors. The results showed that parental bonding was a significant predictor of life history strategy (total sample, male late adolescents, and female late adolescents). They also showed that for the total sample, life history strategy was a significant predictor of deviant behaviors. However, this was not the case for the male participants and female participants, where only a statistical trend was observed. Mating effort was a significant predictor of low self-control in the total sample, but also for both male and female youth. Findings also showed that the Big 5 personality traits were each significant predictors of life history strategy, deviance, and low self-control. An exploratory analysis was also performed to determine whether life history strategies could explain variance above and beyond what was explained by the Big 5 in deviance and in low self-control. These results indicated that life history strategies do not explain a significant level of variance when it comes to deviant behaviors. The results did show, however, that life history strategies could significantly predict low self-control once the effects by the Big 5 were controlled.