Ethnic differences in risk behaviors and related psychosocial variables among a cohort of maltreated adolescents in foster care

Child Maltreat. 2001 May;6(2):180-92. doi: 10.1177/1077559501006002010.


This study examined the cross-ethnic equivalence of measures and the relationships between psychosocial variables and risk behaviors in an ethnically diverse sample of maltreated adolescents 6 years after their placement in foster care. Overall, there was cross-ethnic measurement equivalence, except for the self-destructive behavior and perceived opportunities constructs, which did not demonstrate internal consistency for African American youth. The authors found few differences between White (non-Latino), Hispanic, and African American youth on levels of engagement in risk behaviors and across domains of psychosocial functioning. The relationships between the psychosocial variables and risk behaviors were then examined across ethnic groups. The pattern of results was different as a function of ethnicity, as fewer of the psychosocial variables were significantly related to the risk behavior variables for African American youth. Possible explanations for these differences are presented and implications for intervention discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California / epidemiology
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / ethnology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Foster Home Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires