Bad boys with aggressive nature and low parental monitoring are more likely to befriend people the same nature and become heavy drug users as teens, according to a new study.
The study by scientists from the Université de Montréal and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center found that bad boys could be protected from heavy substance use as teenagers if they are highly monitored and befriend good boys as children.
Parental monitoring was shown to have a protective effect on bad boys and reduce their affiliation with deviant peers, according to first author, Jean-Sébastien Fallu, a Université de Montréal psycho-education professor.
“Disruptive boys typically show a proneness to act aggressively and impulsively – these adolescents might need more external constraints from parents as compared to others who have stronger internal control,” Fallu said.
Co-author Richard Tremblay said that aggressive children are more inclined to misuse drugs than their non-aggressive counterparts and this risk increases substantially if they also affiliate with deviant friends.
“Deviant peers often affiliate with each other and mutually influence each other through deviancy training,” Tremblay, who is also founding director of Montreal’s Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development said.
“Another finding of our study was that disruptive boys who were highly monitored – yet poorly attached to parents – were heavier drug users,” he added.
“Well monitored disruptive boys are more prone to affiliate with conventional peers. When such boys affiliate with conventional peers, they might benefit from a positive socializing influence or conformity training,” Dr. Fallu conversely said.
The research was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.