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Protective Factors for Youth Exposed to Violence: Role of Developmental Assets in Building Emotional Resilience

NCJ Number
241688
Author(s)
Stephen L. Buka, Sonia Jain, Beth E. Molnar, S. V. Subramanian
Date Published
January 2012
Length
23 pages
Annotation
There is compelling evidence that many youth exposed to community violence manage to adapt successfully over time.
Abstract
There is compelling evidence that many youth exposed to community violence manage to adapt successfully over time. Developmental assets have been deemed salient for positive youth development, though limited longitudinal studies have examined their relevance for high-risk youth. Using the Developmental Assets framework, the authors test whether supportive relationships, high expectations, and opportunities build emotional resilience directly or indirectly via interaction with risk. Further, the authors examine the effect of neighborhood collective efficacy on resilience. The authors use multiwave data from 1,166 youth aged 11–16 years and data about their neighborhoods from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine whether baseline protective factors in subjects’ home, peer, and neighborhood environments predicted log odds of emotional resilience at Waves 2 and 3 among youth ETV. Over 7 years, 60–85 percent were emotionally resilient. Positive peers and supportive relationships with parents and other adults had significant main effects. Positive peers and family support were particularly protective for witnesses and victims. Structured activities and collective efficacy influenced change in resilience differentially among ETV groups. Strengths-based policies and systems should focus on building developmental assets within the family, peer, and community environments for high-risk youth who have been exposed to violence (ETV). Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.
Date Published: January 1, 2012