Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Outcome and Activity Participation Trajectories amongst Adolescents in the Child Welfare System
by West-Bey, Nia, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 177; 3614912
Abstract (Summary)

There are hundreds of thousands of children involved in the child welfare system in the United States. Many of the 20,000 adolescents who age out of foster care every year don't have the skills, support, and connections to successfully transition to adulthood. The three studies presented here apply an ecological framework to understand trajectories for well-being, dysfunction, and activity participation, and their inter-relationships amongst child welfare involved adolescents. All three studies utilize data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW), a nationally representative longitudinal sample of adolescents touched by the child welfare system. Study 1 applies structural equation modeling using second order factors to estimate latent growth trajectories for a broad spectrum of adolescent well-being and dysfunction outcomes amongst child welfare involved adolescents. Study 2 examines a trajectory model of activity participation, and compares these trajectories by key demographic and foster care related variables. Study 3 combines the approaches of Study 1 and Study 2 to consider activity participation as a possible promotive/preventative pathway for adolescent well-being and dysfunction outcomes. Results suggest Well-being and Dysfunction represent distinct trajectories on which child welfare involved adolescents vary over time. On average, well-being is increasing and dysfunction is decreasing over time, although there are differences by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and risk level. Participants also varied significantly in their initial levels of activity participation, and their rates of change over time, but the majority of this variability was explained by person-level covariates. Finally, participation in activities has the potential to prevent dysfunction amongst these high risk adolescents, but results were limited to demographic subgroups with the highest base rates of participation, high initial levels of well-being, and high initial levels of dysfunction. The findings have intervention implications for child welfare practice and policy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hughes, Diane
Commitee: Godfrey, Erin, Linares, Lourdes O., Seidman, Edward, Shrout, Patrick
School: New York University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Social work, Developmental psychology
Keywords: Activity participation, Adolescent well-being, Child welfare, Foster care, Latent growth trajectories, Prevention, Promotion
Publication Number: 3614912
ISBN: 978-1-303-80609-4
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