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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


MORAL DE LA RUBIA, José  y  ORTIZ MORALES, Humberto. Predictive models of dissocial behavior by sexes in two low socioeconomic status neighborhoods. Salud Ment [online]. 2011, vol.34, n.3, pp.227-235. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction Although the characteristics of the adolescent stage favor the emergence of disruptive behaviors, not all adolescents engage in them in equal degree. For the majority of adolescents, the problematic behaviors are limited to an experimentation period and are temporary. However, for some individuals, the first contacts with the disruptive behavior progress to more severe antisocial behavior patterns. The progression of the dissocial behavior from the childhood to the adolescence seems related to a difficult temperament, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, improper relationships with peers, precocious sexuality, poor parent-adolescent communication, arrests by delinquency and repetition. Traditionally, the dissocial behavior has been associated with low socioeconomic status, lack of public services, unemployment, marginalization and schools with unsuitable educational programs. However, current conceptualizations view this problem as much more complex. In communities that have covered the basic needs, even in those that possess a good quality of life, we can find children and adolescents with dissocial behavior that thereinafter become adults with antisocial personality. Therefore, during the last decades, research has displaced its attention from the structural variables to community (lack of attachment with the vicinity, social mobility, and population density), family (bonding, communication, supervision) and personal processes, favoring a biopsychosocial perspective to this problem. The aim of the present study was to develop a predictive model of dissocial behavior (as defined by the 27-item Dissocial Behavior Scale, ECODI27) based on the following predictor variables: a) Parent communication (Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale, PACS), b) Empathy (Interpersonal Relationship Index, IRI), c) Assertiveness (Rathus Assertiveness Schedule, RAS), d) Sensation seeking (Sensation Seeking Scale - Form V, SSS-V) and e) Risk socialization (Social Relationship Questionnaire, SRQ, created for this study) controlling for the impression management effect (Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding-version 6, BIDR-6). Method A probability sample of adolescents, 14 to 17 years of age, living in two neighborhoods with high indexes of gangs and offenses was collected. Males were 112 and women 86, without statistical difference of frequencies (X2 [1, N=196]=3.41, p=.06). All participants resided in San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Pearson's product-moment correlation, partial correlation and stepwise linear regression were used for data analysis. Results There was a significant difference in dissocial behavior cases between male and female adolescents (x2 [1, N=194] = 14.75, p<.00), with Yates' correction: (X2 [1, N=194] = 12.59, p<.01). The percentage of cases is 18% in women and 45% in men. The total score of the 27-item Dissocial Behavior Scale (ECODI27) presented significant correlation with social desirability (.47 in men and .44 in women) and its factor of impression management (.53 in men and .47 in women). The self-deception factor was independent in men (r=.18, p=.06), but not in women (r=.26, p=.02). Higher dissocial behavior features were associated with lower scores on social desirability and its factors. The effect of the impression management factor had to be controlled for its statistical significance in men and women. Of the 18 variables of the social relationships questionnaire (SRQ) by the point-biserial correlation coefficient (dichotomic variables) and Pearson's product-moment correlation (ordinal and numerical variables), only four were significantly correlated to the ECODI27 total score: to belong (1) or not (2) to a gang outside of the school and job (n=193, rpb,= .45, p<.01) and in the school (n=133, rpb,= .35, p<.01), to have 1) or not 2) a friend group outside of the school and job (n=193, rpb=.20, p=.01), as well as to have 1) or not 2) a girlfriend or boyfriend in the school (n=131, rpb=.26, p=.02) and outside of the school and job (n=193, rpb=.18, p=.01). These correlations were positive, that is to say, acted as risk factors (lower score on ECODI27, more dissocial behavior). The variable of risk socialization was created with the sum of these five variables, giving more weight to the two variables of gangs by their higher correlations, so they are multiplied by two. The created variable has a range of 0 (not risk) to 7 (high risk). Of the 20 variables contemplated, nine presented significant correlation with dissocial behavior in men, after partializing the effect of the impression management: sensation seeking and its four factors (disinhibition, excitement seeking, emotion seeking and boredom susceptibility), risk socialization, total and open communication with the father and perspective taking. In women there were also nine significant variables: risk socialization, sensation seeking and its factors of disinhibition, boredom susceptibility and excitement seeking, total and open communication with the mother, total communication with the father and school grade. The regression models by sexes were calculated with the nine variables whose correlations with the ECODI27 total score resulted significant after partializing impression management. In men the calculation process ended in the fifth step. The model explained 49% of the variance of the ECODI27 total score and was significant (F [5, 106]=21.99, p<.01). Five variables integrated the model: disinhibition (β = -.32), risk socialization (β = -.28), open communication with the father (β = .27), excitement seeking (β = -.20) and perspective taking (β = .16). In women the calculation process ended in the third step. The model explained 40% of the variance of the criterion and was significant (F [3, 78] = 19.38, p<.01). Three variables integrated it: total communication with the mother (β=.33), risk socialization (β=-32) and sensation seeking (β=-.28). Conclusions The results of the present study can only be extrapolated to the population of the two studied neighborhoods and must be handled as generators of testable hypotheses in other similar populations. In addition, their self-report nature must be considered as an additional potential limitation. However, they indicate that the presence of dissocial behavior was high in the present sample, with an intermediate percentage (33%) between high school students (8.5%) and imprisoned offenders (50%). Risk socialization (engaging in gangs, friend group in the neighborhood and precocious sexuality), sensation seeking and little communication with the parent or tutor of the same sex than adolescent in men and women, as well as lack of perspective taking in men, were predictors of dissocial behavior. The sensation seeking was defined in the regression models by the SSS total score in women and by its factors of disinhibition and excitement seeking in men. These data make an attention call to the Council authorities of a propitiatory environment for dissocial behavior. From the obtained models, the intervention must be addressed to eradicate the phenomenon of the gangs; to encourage the internal control or planning and perspective taking in the pupils, through specific workshops within the school subjects of ethic or health care. They also call for the importance to work the open communication, above all with the parent or tutor of the same sex than the adolescent, through these workshops as well as during the meetings with the pupil's parents. Furthermore, to seek occupational-formative opportunities for those adolescents that have left the school seems critical, especially for those of 16-year-old or younger, considering the prohibition of working at that age.

Palabras llave : Dissocial behavior; sensation seeking; social desirability; risk socialization; empathy.

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