Psychosocial Developmental Trajectory Profiles and Psychiatric Hospitalization Among Transition-Age Youth Receiving Mental Health Services

Deborah M Layman, Fordham University


Transition-age youth, ages 16-24, with SED/SMI have a diagnosed mental health disorder that has significantly interfered with their functioning at home, school, or within their community in the past year, which places them at risk for poor educational achievement, lack of self-sufficiency, mental health problems (Davis & Stoep, 1997; Teich et al., 2003). Examining the shape of trajectories adds nuance to understanding how youth with SMI/ SED experience and respond differently to mental health intervention across three-time points (enrollment, six months, and 12 months). The current study examined clinical assessment and Medicaid billing data for 2,135 transition-age youth with SED/SMI receiving mental health treatment over one year to identify and validate psychosocial developmental trajectory profiles. Using LCGA, the current study identified five subgroups of youth across all three developmental outcomes (educational attainment, knowledge to manage a mental health condition, and living skills) based on six psychosocial factors (trauma symptoms, family support, self-regulation, optimism, self efficacy, peer relationships) plus developmental trajectories at three-time points, adjusting for youth characteristics. Youth generally clustered into groups representing a range of psychosocial and developmental strengths and needs; however, an interaction of profile patterns occurred when one profile group had higher psychosocial strengths and greater developmental needs than another group with fewer strengths but was comprised of youth with different characteristics (e.g., older age, female gender). This interaction of higher strengths yet an increased need for intervention on developmental outcomes suggests different pathways for youth based on age and gender. Additional characteristics that influenced profile membership included race/ ethnicity, diagnosis, and youth having a learning challenge. Moreover, findings indicated that profiles with the highest psychosocial and developmental needs experienced the greatest gains during a year of treatment. In regard to the pattern of scores within profile groups, self-regulation, followed by optimism, self-efficacy, and peer relationships, ranked consistently high within profiles supporting theories of the interconnection of these factors (Carver & Scheier, 2014). LCA models indicated that psychosocial developmental trajectory profiles predicted the number of psychiatric hospitalizations. Despite study limitations, findings have several implications for mental health treatment planning with transition-age youth with SED/SMI.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Layman, Deborah M, "Psychosocial Developmental Trajectory Profiles and Psychiatric Hospitalization Among Transition-Age Youth Receiving Mental Health Services" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29067061.