Self-esteem: A mediator between peer relationships and behaviors of adolescents in foster care

Heather M. Thompson, Armeda Stevenson Wojciak, Morgan E. Cooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Youth in foster care have been shown to be at risk for a range of negative behaviors. Developmental research has highlighted the important role that peer relationships can play in an adolescent's development. For youth in foster care, peer relationships can also play an important role in both youths' internal perception of themselves and their enacted behaviors. This study utilized National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing, a national secondary dataset to analyze the connection between peer relationships for youths in long-term foster care and their report of internalizing, externalizing, and delinquent behaviors (n = 188). Additionally, the self-esteem of adolescents was explored as a potential mediator between peer relationships and these behaviors. Preliminary analyses indicated that peer relationships had a significant association with all three of the identified behaviors: internalizing, externalizing, and delinquent behaviors of youths in foster care. Self-esteem was found to be a significant mediator between peer relationships and adolescents' report of their internalizing, externalizing, and delinquent behaviors. Clinical implications for therapeutic services that focuses on the adolescent's self-image and potential policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume66
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Delinquency
  • Externalizing behaviors
  • Foster care
  • Internalizing behaviors
  • Peer relations

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