Problem behavior in the middle school years: An assessment of the social development model

Christopher J. Sullivan, Paul Hirschfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Social Development Model (SDM) is a life course theory that integrates several extant criminological theories to specify the interactive social processes that lead to prosocial and antisocial behavior. Relatively little research has attempted to cross-validate this and other developmental theories of delinquency. The current study assesses the school and family processes that comprise SDM with a sample of Chicago public school students measured over three school years between fifth and eighth grades (n = 2,0 14). The data draw on student surveys tapping into multiple domains relevant to the explanation of problem behavior. Although overall model fit was marginal, the results of structural equation models largely support the SDM and its constituent paths. The implications for theoretical development and intervention are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopmental and Life-course Criminological Theories
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781315094908
ISBN (Print)9780754629641
Publication statusPublished - Jul 5 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Antisocial behavior
  • Causes/correlates
  • Life course theory
  • Prevention
  • Research methods

Cite this

Sullivan, C. J., & Hirschfield, P. (2017). Problem behavior in the middle school years: An assessment of the social development model. In Developmental and Life-course Criminological Theories (pp. 173-200). Taylor and Francis.