PurposeAfrican American youth, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, evidence high rates of negative outcomes associated with three problem behaviors, conduct problems, risky sexual behavior, and substance use. This study used a contextually-tailored version of Problem Behavior Theory (PBT) to examine predictors of the simultaneous development of problem behaviors in this specific cultural group. MethodsSocio-contextual and individual variables representing four PBT predictor categories, controls protection, support protection, models risk, and vulnerability risk, were examined as predictors of co-occurring problem behaviors among economically disadvantaged African American adolescents (n = 949). Specifically, the likelihood of following three classes of multiple problem behavior trajectories spanning ages 12 to 18, labeled the “early experimenters,” “increasing high risk-takers,” and “adolescent-limited” classes, as opposed to a “normative” class was examined. ResultsAmong other findings, controls protection in the form of a more stringent household curfew at age 12 was related to a lower likelihood of being in the “early experimenters” and “increasing high risk-takers” classes. Conversely, vulnerability risk manifested as stronger attitudes of violence inevitability was associated with a higher likelihood of being in the “early experimenters” class. However, the PBT category of support protection was not associated with risk trajectory class. More distal neighborhood-level manifestations of PBT categories also did not predict co-occurring behavior problems. ConclusionGuided by an incorporation of contextually-salient processes into PBT, prevention programs aiming to decrease co-occurring problem behaviors among low-income African American adolescents would do well to target both proximal systems and psychological constructs related to perceived security throughout adolescence.