Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal


Canada, Conduct problems, Group home care, Low-income, Neighborhood poverty, Ontario, Peer influences, Prevention, Protective factors, Retrospective cohort


Conduct problem is an ongoing concern among youth placed in group homes. The concern could sometimes become more challenging due to negative peer influences. The risks associated with negatively influential peers are well-known across diverse residential treatment contexts in the USA, but not in Canada. This 3-year retrospective cohort study observed the influence of positive and negative peers on conduct problems among 173 youths in Ontario group home care between 2012 and 2016 (initial participation rate = 90.0% and follow-up rate = 95.1%). Having previously observed that group home resources matter (Osei in Peer influences on antisocial and prosocial behaviors in group home foster care: Evidence of greater protections in better resourced homes and higher income neighborhoods, Doctoral thesis, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 2019, https ://, here it was hypothesized that neighborhood income also matters. Specifically, that neighborhood income would moderate peer influences such that low-income neighborhoods would be relatively risky places, while higher-income neighborhoods would be relatively protective places. Positive and negative peer influences were, respectively, protective and risky, but the main effect of neighborhood income was null. As hypothesized, a significant negative peer influence by neighborhood income interaction was also observed. Higher income neighborhoods attenuated the negative peer influence-youth conduct problem association. Negative peers were less risky in higher income neighborhoods. The main protective influence of positive peers was robust across socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods. Clinical, policy and future research implications are discussed.



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