Shaken up: Family, Residential and School Instability among Poor Youth

Stefanie DeLuca, Johns Hopkins University
Barbara Condliffe, Johns Hopkins University
Siri Warkentien, Johns Hopkins University

Changes in family structure, residential mobility, and school transfers are of developmental interest, and a large body of research suggests that disruptions in such contexts are harmful for youth. Previous research usually studies only one of these transitions at a time, although they are often interconnected and each disruption might matter differently for youth development. Traditional approaches prevent us from understanding which kinds of instability have the most significant impact on youth development. Scholars also tend to analyze nationally representative samples, and simply include controls for socioeconomic status. Such analyses assume that instabilities work and look the same way for middle class and poor families when they may not. We use a large sample of low income families to explore the nature of instability among the poor and look at the combined and independent influences of family, school and mobility changes on youth development.

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Presented in Session 65: Child Care, School Contexts, and Child Outcomes