• Independent Living Programs and Changes in Resilience of Transition-Age Foster Care Youth

      Lee, Sang Jung; Harrington, Donna (2016)
      The transition to living independently is a challenge for youth who have been living in foster care. Independent Living Programs (ILPs) are designed to help transition-age foster care youth. However, limited rigorous examinations have been done. Therefore, this study aims to examine the relationship between Independent Living Programs and resilience among transition-age foster care youth. The social ecology of resilience was used to guide the secondary analysis of a sample of 917 transition-age foster youth from three ILPs of the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs (Chafee Independent Living Evaluation Project, 2001-2010). Multilevel analyses were used to examine the impact of each ILP on resilience and the role of ILP participation on resilience in the social environmental contexts of transition-age foster care youth. The three ILPs examined in this study did not outperform services as usual. In addition, participation in the three ILPs did not significantly predict changes in resilience after controlling for individual and social environmental factors. However, gender and externalizing behavior problems at the individual level significantly predicted change in resilience. Compared to male youth, female youth presented greater positive change in resilience. When youth had lower levels of behavior problems at baseline, they were more likely to improve on resilience. Social support was the only significant predictor of change in resilience at the micro-system level; when youth had higher levels of social support at baseline, they were more likely to improve on resilience. At the meso/exo-system level, foster parent support, community participation, and child welfare status were found to be significant predictors of resilience change over time. Youth with higher levels of foster parent support were more likely to improve on resilience. Youth who participated in a community organization at baseline were more likely to increase resilience over two years. Youth in the child welfare system demonstrated higher levels of resilience than youth discharged from the system. The findings of this study underscore the role of child welfare social workers, foster parents, and the child welfare system in preparing youth for independent living.
    • Resilience in young adults: An assessment of individual, family and community level protective factors

      Hisle-Gorman, Elizabeth; Harrington, Donna (2008)
      Problem statement. Childhood poverty and child maltreatment are problems that affect millions of children, and often result in a range of negative sequelae. Yet, some individuals do well despite hardship. Understanding resilient survivors of child maltreatment and factors that contribute to their resilience is needed to best serve others who have been abused and neglected. Methods. Young adults (age 18-35) enrolled in college and in a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) welfare to work job training program were surveyed on demographic, risk and protective factors, and indicators of resilience. Resilience was measured using a composite score composed of seven indicators of resilience (college and employment participation, scholastic achievement, self esteem, postponing childbearing, avoiding early drug and alcohol use, avoiding post traumatic stress disorder, and avoiding depression). Results. An internal locus of control, the presence of a familial mentor, religious involvement and a positive high school experience were all significant protective factors that contributed to resilience against child maltreatment and childhood poverty. As expected, recruitment site also significantly predicted resilience. Conclusion. An internal locus of control, the presence of a familial mentor, religious involvement and a positive high school experience are all associated with global resilience in young adults.
    • Youth risk factors and educational outcomes of mentored and non-mentored youth

      Castellanos-Brown, Karen; Harrington, Donna (2010)
      As mentoring is receiving increasing attention as a method to improve youth educational outcomes, it is important to continue to examine the effects of mentoring on these youth outcomes. This study uses secondary data from Waves I and III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and transcript data from the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study (AHAA). In seeking support for the compensatory model of resilience, this dissertation uses multiple and logistic regression analyses to examine the direct effects of youth risk factors and the compensatory factor (mentoring) on the educational outcomes: cumulative grade point average (GPA) and graduation from high school. The moderating effects of mentoring on the relationship between youth risk factors and these educational outcomes are also examined. The findings from this study suggest the following characteristics are risk factors for a lower cumulative GPA: younger age, academic risk, racial/ethnic minority status, low maternal education, living with less than both biological parents, lower levels of parental closeness, and lower levels of parental school involvement. On the other hand, only academic risk, low maternal education, and lack of parental participation in school fundraising and volunteering appear to be risk factors for not graduating from high school. Findings also indicate that the compensatory factor, mentoring, is significantly associated with a higher GPA, but is not significantly associated with graduation after controlling for youth risk factors and demographic factors. In support of the protective factor model, two significant moderating relationships were found in terms of predicting graduation between mentoring and the risk factors of living with less than both biological parents and lack of parental participation in school fundraising and volunteering. This study also found that cumulative risk (cumulative risk score was composed of 5 of the risk factors examined) is significantly related to both GPA and graduation, suggesting that youth with more risk factors have worse educational outcomes. The findings of this dissertation add to the existing literature on mentoring and youth educational outcomes. This dissertation's implications for theory, social work, educational practice, policy, and research are discussed as well as this dissertation's strengths and limitations.