Home sweet home(s): parental separations, residential moves, and adjustment problems in low-income adolescent girls

Dev Psychol. 2002 Sep;38(5):792-805.


Associations between histories of family disruption (residential moves and separations from parent figures) and adolescent adjustment (including educational, internalizing, externalizing, and sexual behavior outcomes) were examined in a random sample of 267 African American girls from 3 urban poverty neighborhoods. Higher numbers of residential moves and parental separations significantly predicted greater adolescent adjustment problems after household demographic characteristics were controlled. Adolescents' perceptions of their current relationships and neighborhoods were significantly associated with adolescent adjustment but did not mediate the effects of family disruption. Associations between parental separations and adolescent outcomes were strongest for externalizing problems and were found for both male and female caregivers, for long-standing and more temporary caregivers, and for separations in early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Divorce / psychology*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Environment