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The Self-Determination and Mental Health of Youth in Residential Placement: Patterns of Risk and Resilience in Links with Prior Abuse and Victimization

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $38,116)

The purpose of this proposed project is to examine patterns of vulnerability and resilience related to prior trauma, including abuse and victimization, amongst youth in residential placement. The project will focus on two outcomes predictive of successful transitions back to the community: self-determination, which refers to youths' goals and aspirations for the future and their skills to accomplish them, and mental health. Project goals are twofold: (1) to examine the link of prior abuse and victimization with the self-determination and mental health of youth in residential placement; and (2) to identify experiences of youth in residential placement that either exacerbate or protect against the risks to self-determination and mental health. The goals of this proposed project will be addressed through analysis of data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJDP's) Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP), a nationally representative sample of 7,073 youth offenders aged 10 to 20. Hypotheses associated with the project goals will be tested with structural equation mixture modeling, a cutting-edge statistical technique for detecting groups that represent distinct subpopulations. Analyses will test (1) for distinct subpopulations of youth characterized by vulnerability and resilience based on (a) their self-determination and mental health outcomes, and (b) the effects of prior abuse and victimization on these outcomes; and (2) hypotheses that victimization at the facility will be associated with increased odds of belonging to a subpopulation characterized by vulnerability, whereas youth perceptions of positive facility climate and psychological services received at the facility will be associated with increased odds of belonging to a subpopulation characterized by resilience. Practical and policy implications are related to the importance of understanding the relationship between victimization, mental health, perceived facility climate factors, and self-determination. Identification of the relationships between risk and resilience can then be used to develop specific interventions to promote youth's self-determination and mental health, and to improve their confinement conditions. Two primary types of scholarly products will be developed. The first is a peer reviewed journal article targeted at researchers who will hopefully build on the findings of this project to investigate tailored self-determination and mental health interventions that can be designed to improve outcomes for incarcerated youth through changing facets of facility climate. The second scholarly product will be a journal article targeted to professionals who work in juvenile justice settings. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 17, 2014