CitationHair, Elizabeth; C; Martin, Laurie; Milot, Alyssa; & Sidorowicz, Kathleen (2008). The mental health of vulnerable youth and their transition to adulthood: Examining the role of the child welfare, juvenile justice, and runaway/homeless systems. 2008 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center.
AbstractYouth who have been in foster care, have had contact with the juvenile justice system, or have runaway or been homeless, all have an elevated likelihood of experiencing mental health problems; yet supporting their successful transition to adulthood is particularly difficult due to the lack of coordination across the systems serving these three groups. This study assesses the relationships among service system contact, mental health, and the transition to adulthood by examining three groups of youth: 1) those with contact with the juvenile justice or social service systems; 2) those at risk for contact; and 3) those at low risk for having contact with any service system. We used latent class analysis to categorize adolescents according to patterns of mental health. Multinomial multivariate regression models were used to examine predictor variables in Waves I and II of Add Health that influenced adolescents’ classification in each profile. Regression models examined young adult outcomes at Wave III. The analyses of the mental health variables resulted in 5 profiles: 1) Non troubled youth; 2) Depressed youth; 3) Depressed and Delinquent youth; 4) Alcohol Interference youth; and 5) Troubled youth. Analyses indicate that youth who had contact with a service system were more likely to be in a profile characterized by mental health issues than youth that did not have contact with a service system. Additional regression models demonstrate that youth who had contact with a service system also have more difficulty during the transition to adulthood (i.e. disconnection, personal income, debt, and sexual partners).
Keyword(s)Transition to adulthood Mental health
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title2008 Add Health Users Conference