Timpe, Zachary (2012). Of children and men: The effects of resilience, mentoring, and maltreatment on educational attainment. 2012 Add Health Users Conference.
Resilience has been established as a protective factor in improving adolescents' likelihood of graduating from high school, and may foster positive development through successful adaptation to adversity. In this study, based on publicly available data from Waves I and III, I use principal components analysis to develop indices of community, family, and personal resilience for adolescents. I then examine how high-school graduation status is affected by these resilience indices, as well as by indicators of physical and sexual abuse, environmental and individual risk, and mentoring. I find evidence that community, family, and personal resilience can all help mitigate the impact of adversity in an adolescent's life. Resilience comes into play particularly when an adolescent experiences adversity, as indicated by positive coefficients on interaction terms between resilience indices and measures of adversity. Specifically, having a supportive family is particularly important to adolescents dealing with individual risk, as indicated for example by suspension from school or failing a grade. Surprisingly, the presence of physical abuse seems to increase the odds of graduating from high school, and more so if the adolescent is part of a supportive community. With respect to mentoring, I find that mentoring relationships, particularly with male mentors, enhance the effects of personal resilience. From this, I argue that mentors should be viewed as a fourth source of resilience.
2012 Add Health Users Conference
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