Family-based resilience processes in African American inner-city at-risk youth

Jenean Adderley Castillo, Fordham University


The major goal of this study was to identify those family process variables, that is, cohesion, family beliefs, parental monitoring and discipline, that promote resilient functioning among at-risk, inner-city, African American youth. The second objective was to explore the moderating effect of gender on family process influences on resilience. All participants were previously identified as at-risk or high-risk based on a self-report risk measure. The three domains of competence assessed included academic competence, social competence, and lack of psychological symptomatology. Competent functioning was based on multiple ratings and multiple sources, and resilient criteria were based on a median split approach. Of the 188 African American youth who participated, 90 (47.9%) were males and 98 (52.1%) were females. Participants yielded four groups, those who were resilient in zero, one, two, or all three domains of functioning assessed. Discriminant functional analysis confirmed the accuracy of group membership based on the median split approach. Participants in the extreme groups were more likely different from each other, whereas those in the middle groups were less similar. ANOVA results revealed that parental monitoring and discipline were the best predictors of resilient functioning among high-risk, inner-city, African American youth. Gender proved to have a moderating effect on family beliefs such that the degree of separation among groups on beliefs was different for males versus females. The results provide evidence for the role of parenting practices in promoting positive adjustment of adolescents. It also suggests that gender may play a role in family influences on adjustment. Future research should explore the role that gender plays in the possible promotion of resilient functioning.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|African Americans

Recommended Citation

Castillo, Jenean Adderley, "Family-based resilience processes in African American inner-city at-risk youth" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3083150.