Positive youth development among African American adolescents: examining single parents as a factor
Roberts, Shani Roshelle
Lewis, Rhonda K.
Carmack, Chakema C.
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Journal of prevention & intervention in the community. 2011 Oct; 39(4): 310-9.
Over the past few decades researchers have begun to examine the importance of understanding positive youth development and the many contexts in which youth find themselves. The social contexts in which adolescent development occurs are varied and complex, particularly the development among African American youth. African American youth are faced with a number of challenges including living in single-parent homes, high teen pregnancy rates, and poor neighborhoods, yet many of these youth continue to thrive. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between family structure (single-parenting) and adolescent outcomes such as educational aspirations and sexual activity among African American adolescent youth aged 12-17. Approximately 462 African American youth were surveyed. A number of positive results emerged; for instance, there was a negative correlation between family structure and educational aspirations. The number of parents in the home did not interfere with youth wanting to complete high school and go on to college (r = - .218, r² = .04, p < .05). The results also showed that as educational aspirations increased, the number of sexual partners decreased (r = - .141, meaning that the more adolescents reported a desire to complete high school, they were less likely to report having sexual intercourse. These positive results should be promoted among African American youth so that those faced with these challenges will note that others have overcome and accomplished their goals. In this population educational aspirations were important. Limitations and future research are discussed.
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