Late Delinquency in Adolescents: The Role of Desire for Autonomy and Deviant Peers Association

Ivana Vrselja


For a long time, delinquency that appears in the adolescent
period, so-called late delinquency, has been neglected in
research. Based on Moffitt's late delinquency theory (1993),
the goal of this paper was to explore whether desire for
autonomy and deviant peers association, and their
interaction, are significant predictors of a late delinquents
group, separate for boys and girls. Analyzed data were
gathered on 425 students (303 boys) from eight high schools
located in the City of Zagreb, aged between 15 and 17.
Participants rated their desire for autonomy, and they filled
out a questionnaire which measures their association with
deviant peers, as well as self-reported risk and delinquent
behaviors questionnaire. The results of hierarchical binary
logistic analysis showed that the increased desire for
autonomy and deviant peers association are significant
predictors of a late delinquents group on both samples.
However, moderation analyses showed that the interaction of
these two variables is not significant in predicting a late
delinquents group in the sample of boys, nor in the sample
of girls. The results represent a significant contribution to the
existing knowledge gap on the risk factors of late


late delinquency; desire for autonomy; deviant peers

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096