Understanding Family and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Risk for Internalizing and Externalizing in Adolescents: A Person-Centered Approach

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Author:
Mcdonald, Ashley
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 22, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Martha Ellen Wadsworth, Thesis Advisor
  • Dawn Paula Witherspoon, Committee Member
  • Bethany Cara Bray, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • socioeconomic disadvantage
  • adolescents
  • internalizing
  • externalizing
Abstract:
Socioeconomic status differences in adolescent internalizing and externalizing are well established. Research investigating the combined effects of family and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage on adolescent internalizing and externalizing is lacking. A better understanding of the combined impact of family and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is required to develop and tailor prevention and intervention programs. This study uses latent class analysis, a person-centered approach, to identify groups of adolescents experiencing family and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and examines whether group membership is differentially associated with depression and antisocial behavior. Data for this study comes from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health, N = 4107). Results indicate that seven socioeconomic risk groups existed: Low-Risk, Single-Parent Economic Risk, Two-Parent Family Risk, Neighborhood Risk, Neighborhood Occupation Risk, Two-Parent Family and Neighborhood Risk and High-Risk. Notable differences emerged concerning adolescent depression and antisocial behavior. Adolescents in the Single-Parent Economic Risk, Two-Parent Family Risk, and High-Risk groups reported more depression than adolescents in the Low-Risk group. Adolescents in the Single-Parent Economic-Risk group reported more antisocial behavior than adolescents in the Low-Risk and Neighborhood-Occupation Risk groups. Overall, adolescents in the Low-Risk group had low levels of depression and antisocial behavior while adolescents in the Single-Parent Economic Risk group had some of the highest levels of depression and antisocial behavior. These findings offer a more nuanced understanding of how family and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage impacts adolescent internalizing and externalizing and have valuable implications for prevention and intervention efforts.