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Title:Understanding Developmental Pathways to Risk and Vulnerability in Childhood and Adolescence
Author(s):Farnham, Angela Adan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mark Aber
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:In this longitudinal investigation, the extent to which an ecologically-based, transactional model increases understanding of the ways in which selected individual and environmental factors interact to shape developmental outcomes in children and adolescents was explored. Academic and emotional adjustment outcomes were considered. Of particular concern were interactions between personal vulnerabilities, environmental resources, and environmental risk conditions, as well as the interaction between conditions of risk in the family and school contexts. Composite variables were created for the proposed dimensions of child vulnerability, family risk, family resources, school risk, and school resources. The following effects were hypothesized: (1) main effects, reflecting a positive impact of environmental resources and a negative impact of child vulnerability and environmental risk on adjustment; (2) context-specific effects, in which environmental risks and resources are more salient for some outcomes than for others; (3) interactive effects, in which environmental resources and personal strengths reduce the negative effects associated with heightened levels of hazardous environmental risk conditions; and (4) transactional effects, or linkages between initial adaptation and subsequent levels of environmental risks and resources. Participants (N = 427) were a sample of 5th through 9th graders who completed surveys during the Spring of the school year and again at followup approximately two years later. The existence of context-specific effects and transactional influences was only partially supported by the findings. Though a lack of child vulnerability provided a compensatory effect across outcomes, there were no significant interactions between personal vulnerability characteristics and environmental risk conditions. However, significant interactive patterns were found between risks and resources within a single context and between conditions of risk in multiple contexts. Overall, the results are consistent with views emphasizing the complex and multi-faceted nature of adjustment and the ways in which environmental and transactional influences impact adjustment. The discussion includes a summary of methodological and theoretical considerations to be addressed in future research, as well as potential implications for preventive and policy efforts.
Issue Date:1997
Description:148 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9737100
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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