Childhood Adversity, Social Support Networks And Well-Being Among Youth Aging Out Of Care: An Exploratory Study Of Mediation.
Melkman, Eran P.
Published: October 2017
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 72 , p. 85-97
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The goals of the present study are to examine the relationship between childhood adversity and adult well-being among vulnerable young adults formerly placed in substitute care, and to investigate how characteristics of their social support networks mediate this association.A sample of 345 Israeli young adults (ages 18–25), who had aged out of foster or residential care, responded to standardized self-report questionnaires tapping their social support network characteristics (e.g., network size or adequacy) vis-à-vis several types of social support (emotional, practical, information and guidance), experiences of childhood adversity, and measures of well-being (psychological distress, loneliness, and life satisfaction).Structural equation modelling (SEM) provided support for the mediating role of social support in the relationship between early adversity and adult well-being. Although network size, frequency of contact with its members, satisfaction with support, and network adequacy, were all negatively related to early adversity, only network adequacy showed a major and consistent contribution to the various measures of well-being. While patterns were similar across the types of support, the effects of practical and guidance support were most substantial.The findings suggest that the detrimental long-term consequences of early adversity on adult well-being are related not only to impaired structural aspects of support (e.g., network size), but also to a decreased ability to recognize available support and mobilize it. Practical and guidance support, more than emotional support, seem to be of critical importance. (Author abstract)
well being; aging out; independent living skills; independent living; foster adolescents; child abuse; sequelae; childhood trauma; Israel; interpersonal relationships