Testing sampling bias in estimates of adolescent social competence and behavioral control

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Description: ABSTRACT: Former studies clearly reveal differences between SES strata in adolescent social competence and behavioral control. In 5 of the 6 large Dutch developmental cohorts investigated here, lower SES adolescents are underrepresented and higher SES adolescents overrepresented. Using a raking procedure, we used national census statistics to weight the cohorts to be more representative of the Dutch population. Contrary to our expectations, in all cohorts, little to no differences between SES strata were found in the two outcomes. Accordingly, no differences between weighted and unweighted mean scores were observed across all cohorts. Furthermore, no clear change in correlations between social competence and behavioral control was found. These findings are most probably explained by the fact that measures of SES in the samples were quite limited, and the low SES participants in the cohorts could not be considered as representative of the low SES groups in the general population. This could also explain the lack of differences in outcomes between SES strata in the cohorts. Hence, developmental outcomes associated with SES may be affected by a raking procedure in cohorts with a sufficient number and sufficient variation of low SES adolescents.

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