Risk and Protective Factors in Rural Youth: Initial Findings From the NC-ACE Rural Adaptation Project
It is important to understand the risk and protective factors that potentiate behavioral problems for rural youth. In general, rural youth are subject to more cumulative risk than urban youth . Although rural and urban youth report equal amounts of family violence and substance abuse, rural youth are more likely to experience substance use, a family history of mental illness, sexual abuse, behavior problems, internalizing, and externalizing behaviors (Robbins, et al., 2008) . This may be due to the lack of support services and prevention programs in many rural areas.
In this symposium, we explore risk and protective for youth in rural settings. The four papers include results from the NC-ACE Rural Adaptation Project (RAP), one of the largest studies of rural children growing up in impoverished areas of the southeastern United States. RAP is a longitudinal panel study sponsored by the CDC-funded North Carolina Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (NC-ACE). The first paper uses Latent Profile Analyses to identify clusters of youth with different configurations of risk and protective factors. The second paper examines the correlates of bullying victimization and school hassles in rural youth. The third and fourth papers explore risk and protective factors associated with mental health problems in rural youth (anxiety and aggressive behavior in paper #3, depression and self-esteem in paper #4). The second to fourth papers all employed binary logistic regression models to test research hypotheses about multilevel influences of covariates on outcomes. Together, these papers present a strong portrait of rural youth, the factors that place these youth at risk, and protective effects that can inform prevention programming.
Dukes, R.L. & Stein, J.A. (2003). Gender and gang membership: A contrast of rural and urban youth on attitudes and behavior. Youth and Society, 34, 415-440.
Robbins, V., Dollard, N., Armstrong, B,J., Kutash, K., & Vergon, K.S. (2008). Mental health needs of poor suburban and rural children and their families. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 13, 94-122.
Witherspoon, D., & Ennett, S. (2011). Stability and change in rural youths’ educational outcomes through the middle and high school years. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(9), 1077-1090.