Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Goals during Adolescence and Their Relationship with Antisocial Behavior

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Goals during Adolescence and Their Relationship with Antisocial Behavior

Article excerpt

In recent years, psychological research has emphasized the role of goals in adolescent development and, particularly, in the development of socially adapted lifestyles. Along those lines, the present study, analyzing data collected from a sample of 488 participants, explores: a) The structure of adolescent goals and their importance for young people, b) The relationship between adolescent goals and antisocial behavior and c) The role of gender in this relationship. The results show that adolescent goals are structured according to 6 factors: Social Recognition, Emancipation, Education, Physical-Athletic, Antisocial and Interpersonal-Familial. Educational and emancipative goals appear to be most important for young people. In addition, it has been found that there are significant correlations between certain types of goals and adolescent antisocial behavior, as well as significant gender differences. The data reflect the need to incorporate motivational dimensions into explanatory models of adolescent behavioral problems.

Keywords:adolescence, goals, antisocial behavior.

En los últimos años, la investigación ha enfatizado el papel que las metas desempeñan en el desarrollo adolescente y, particularmente, en el desarrollo de estilos de vida socialmente adaptados. Dentro del estudio de la conducta antisocial, cada vez se reclama una mayor atención a los aspectos motivacionales implicados en su génesis y mantenimiento. En esta línea, el presente estudio, partiendo de los datos recogidos en una muestra de 488 participantes, analizó: a) la estructura de las metas adolescentes y la importancia que los jóvenes conceden a distintos tipos de metas; b) la relación entre metas adolescentes y conducta antisocial; c) el papel del género en la relación metas-conducta antisocial. Los resultados muestran como las metas adolescentes presentan una estructura definida en 6 factores: Reconocimiento Social, Emancipativas, Educativas, Físico-Deportivas, Antisociales e Interpersonales-Familiares. Las metas educativas y las emancipativas aparecen como las más importantes para los jóvenes. Se constata la existencia de relaciones significativas entre determinados tipos de metas y la conducta antisocial adolescente, así como diferencias significativas en función del género. Los datos avalan la importancia de incorporar las dimensiones motivacionales dentro de los modelos explicativos de los problemas de conducta adolescente.

Palabras clave: adolescencia, metas, conducta antisocial.

Adolescence is recognized as a vitally important stage of development that confronts individuals with substantial change in many spheres of life (Little, 2004; Luengo, Romero, Gómez-Fraguela, Garra & Lence, 1999). These changes are challenging to young people, and for that reason adolescence tends to involve behaviors that surpass the limits of what is socially acceptable. Such behaviors fall under the label of antisocial behavior (Rutter, Guiller & Hagell, 2000).

It has been confirmed that during this stage, a considerable increase in this type of behavior occurs (Mirón & Otero-López, 2005; Rutter et. al, 2000) that does not only include committing crimes (e.g. theft), but also incorporates a whole host of behaviors considered in society to be antinormative (e.g., smoking cigarettes or prank calling people on the phone) (Rutter et al., 2000). Furthermore, several theories and research studies have attempted to deepen our understanding of the phenomenon of adolescent antisocial behavior. This research has focused on identifying factors that either favors its onset or development, or that protect some people more than others from becoming implicated in it. Although the factors studied in this area have been numerous (Sobral, Romero, Luengo & Marzoa, 2000), there has been little attention paid to the motivational dimension of antisocial behavior. This interest in the motivation and intentionality that people bring to their own behavior has grown in recent decades within the study of personality (Little, Salmela-Aro & Philps, 2007; Romero, Villar, Luengo & Gómez-Fraguela, 2009; Schmuck & Sheldon, 2001), and its relevance to the study of antisocial behavior has been demonstrated by various authors in the last several years (Carroll, Hattie, Durkin & Houghton, 2001; Emler & Reicher, 1995). …

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