DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.46, no.6, pp.1779-1791, 2010 (SSCI)
Jessor (2008) has recently called attention to description versus explanation in cross-cultural and cross-national comparative scholarship on adolescent development, particularly, the etiology of adolescent problem behaviors. In the current study, we were interested in testing to what extent problem behavior theory replicated in samples of 10,310 adolescents from 8 distinct developmental contexts, including Asian, Eastern and Western European, North American, and Eurasian/Muslim cultures. Path analyses by country samples as well as follow-up multigroup analyses provided evidence of great similarities across cultures in the links among two protective factor domains (controls protection and support protection), three risk factor domains (models risk, opportunity risk, and vulnerability risk), and the problem behavior syndrome, operationalized by vandalism, general deviance, school misconduct, theft, and assault measures. This evidence adds to a growing body of scholarship that provides support for similarities in explanation, despite many observed differences in description.