Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study tests whether the relationship between academic achievement and problem behaviors is the same across racial and ethnic groups. Some have suggested that academic achievement may be a weaker predictor of problem behaviors among Asian Pacific Islander American (API) youth; that they can have high grades but still exhibit problem behaviors. This study finds that academic performance is a significant predictor of aggressive and nonaggressive delinquent offenses, gang initiation, sexual behaviors, and substance use, and that the relationship generally does not vary by race and ethnicity. Thus, there is little evidence that API youth are high achievers who are also engaging significantly in problem behaviors. The existing perceptions of API youth may be largely based on stereotype and ambivalence.
Keywords: API youth; Academic achievement; Etiology; Interrelations of youth behaviors; Problem behaviors.