Youth Adaptation Project

Adolescents face pivotal points in their lives as they develop increasing psychological and emotional independence from adults and a commensurate dependence on peer relationships to construct positive perceptions of self (Leve, Neiderhiser, Shaw, Ganiban, Natsuaki, & Reiss, 2013). Moreover, they engage in maturing cognitive abilities that interact with their psychological and emotional experiences amidst changing expectations from family, school, community, and peer contexts (Steinberg, 2005; Susman & Dorn, 2009). One promising theoretical framework suggests that a confluence of these individual and contextual factors lead to productive or adverse developmental outcomes: the phenomenological variant to ecological systems theory (PVEST) model (Spencer, Dupree, Hartmann, 1997). This project seeks to nuance this theoretical model for adolescents adapting to environments with high levels of community violence. It seeks to explore the influences of differential perceptions of contextual risk, the school and neighborhood environment, and socialization processes on emergent resilient identities and developmental outcomes.

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