Childhood Poverty, Cumulative Risk Exposure, and Adjustment in Emerging Adults: A Prospective Latent Profile with Contextual Factors

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hsing-Jung CHEN, Graduate Institute of Social Work, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
Yi-fu CHEN, Department of Sociology, National Taipei University, Taiwan
Families in poverty are more likely to suffer from financial stress, to live in disorganized neighborhood and to experience more negative life events compared to average families. Consequently, the cumulative risks are more likely to increase depression and substance use of children who grow up in these families. Nevertheless, variations among families in poverty have been identified; resilience has also been proposed. Therefore, factors that contribute to their resilience should be identified, too. The present study was designed to (a) identify, using confirmatory latent profile analysis, groups of poor Taiwanese youths who show distinct groups in exposure to cumulative risks and adjustments; (b) identify, using multinomial logistic regression model, contextual factors that distinguish the identified groups. The study used data from an ongoing survey on economic disadvantaged families with child who have received welfare services over 4 years (N=1,622, mean age=16.07).

We proposed that poverty-related risks and adjustment assessment would reveal 5 patterns including (1) experiencing high levels of risks with high levels of behavioral maladjustment, a externalizing problem group; (2) experiencing high levels of risks with high levels of emotional maladjustment, a internalizing problem group; (3) experiencing high levels of risks with high levels of emotional and behavioral maladjustment, a comorbidity group; (4) experiencing high levels of adversity with a low level of adjustment problems, a resilience group; (5) experiencing low levels of risks with a high level of functioning, a low risk group.

A latent profile analysis identified 5 profiles in the data that confirm the hypothesis. Academic engagement, involvement in prosocial behavior, and parental monitoring are key protective factors to distinguish the resilience group from the externalizing problem and commodity groups. The results suggest youths in poor families benefit from these factors facing the effects of poverty stress across childhood to early adulthood.