Attachment, psychological functioning, and resilience within the street involved youth populations: describing youth who access community agency support

Patterson, Heather M. (2016) Attachment, psychological functioning, and resilience within the street involved youth populations: describing youth who access community agency support. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Youth homelessness is defined within the literature as youth who have left their homes and are living independent of parental figures and/or caregivers, have no stable residence or source of income, and lack access to the supports needed to make the challenging transition into adulthood (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2015). Previous research studying homeless (or street-involved) youth has primarily focused on risk factors hindering the development of this population, and has largely ignored resilience, coping, and help-seeking behaviours. The current study examined the attachment styles (both categorically and dimensionally), psychological functioning, resilience, and help-seeking behaviours in street-involved youth of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Face-to face interviews were completed over a four-month period with 63 youth (42 males, 21 females) aged 15-29 (Mage = 20.00), recruited from a local community organization providing outreach services to street-involved youth. Results revealed the disproportionate struggles of the street-involved youth population, and highlighted higher levels of attachment insecurity, psychological distress and lower resilience compared to normative peers. Findings also showed a significant difference in psychological functioning, overall resilience, and emotional reactivity based on individual attachment style. In an exploratory model of help-seeking, a positive relationship was found between overall resilience (defined as a sense of mastery and sense of relatedness) and frequency of community service access. However, contrary to predictions, no relationships were found between frequency of community service access and attachment, psychological functioning, or emotional reactivity. Implications of the present findings in development of interventions for street-involved youth are discussed, in addition to strengths and limitations of the present research, and suggested areas of future inquiry.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11895
Item ID: 11895
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-127).
Keywords: Street-involved youth, Attachment, Psychological Functioning, Resillience, Help-seeking, At-risk populations
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: May 2016
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Homeless youth--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--Psychology; Resilience (Personality trait) in adolescence--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Homeless youth--Services for--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Attachment behavior in adolescence--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's

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