Distinct Stress and Resource Profiles Among At-Risk Adolescents: Implications for Violence and Other Problem Behaviors

Child Adolesc Social Work J. 2012 Oct 1;29(5):373-390. doi: 10.1007/s10560-012-0269-x.


This study tests for the presence of subgroups among youth at-risk for school drop-out and whether those groups differ on levels of violence and related problem behaviors. Latent profile analysis was employed with a diverse adolescent sample (N = 849) to identify and describe subgroups based on assessment of stress and coping resources, resulting in four distinct groups: Low Risk, Unprotected, Risk Only, and High Risk. Tests across these groups demonstrated significant heterogeneity in violent behaviors, substance use, and school disengagement. The value of stress and protective resource assessment and tailoring interventions to meet the differing needs of vulnerable youth is discussed.

Keywords: Adolescent violence; Person-oriented methods; Risk and protective factors; School drop-out; Substance use.