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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2021

22-09-2021 | Original Paper

Linking Foster Family Characteristics and Mental Health Symptoms of Youth in Care

Auteurs: Katie J. Stone, Yo Jackson

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 11/2021

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Abstract

Youth in foster care are disproportionately at risk for developing internalizing and externalizing problems (Lawrence et al., 2006); however, a history of maltreatment prior to foster care placement does not automatically result in poor mental health outcomes. Among non-foster care youth, the quality of family interactions has been related to adjustment outcomes, such that low family cohesion and high family conflict is associated with poor mental health symptoms (Caples & Barrera, 2006). While little is known about these constructs in foster care placements, they may help explain the variance in internalizing and externalizing problems for youth in foster care. The present study aimed to examine whether characteristics of the foster care environment (i.e., conflict, cohesion) across various placement types (i.e., traditional foster homes, group-care settings) could help explain the link between previous maltreatment exposure and mental health problems. The sample included 178 youth in foster care (Mage = 15.18, SD = 1.76) and their foster caregivers living in the Midwest. Youth participants completed self-report measures about prior maltreatment history, current family environment characteristics, and youth internalizing symptoms. Foster caregivers completed measures on current family environment and youth externalizing symptoms. Results indicated that caregiver report, but not youth report, of family cohesion was negatively associated with youth report of internalizing problems. When examining the indirect effects, youth report of family conflict partially accounted for the link between youth self-report of maltreatment and internalizing symptoms (B = 0.106, 95% CI = 0.026–0.186). Caregiver report of family conflict fully accounted for the association between youth self-report of maltreatment and caregiver report of youths’ externalizing symptoms (B = 0.108, 95% CI = 0.005–0.211). Findings highlight the importance of utilizing multiple informants when measuring foster family environment and suggest that family conflict is particularly salient for the mental health of youth in foster care.

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Metagegevens
Titel
Linking Foster Family Characteristics and Mental Health Symptoms of Youth in Care
Auteurs
Katie J. Stone
Yo Jackson
Publicatiedatum
22-09-2021
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Child and Family Studies / Uitgave 11/2021
Print ISSN: 1062-1024
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-2843
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02107-x