Methods: Using a sample of 375 African American youth (average age = 15.5; SD=2.2) recruited from public housing in three large US cities, this attempts to rectify the observed gap in knowledge by assessing how variations in maternal caregiver types are associated with their adolescents’ child’s internalized behaviors (i.e., attitudes toward delinquent behaviors, efficacious beliefs and depressive symptoms). We use Latent Profile Analysis to identify various maternal caregiver classes. Then we used One-way ANOVA and a Multinominal Logistic Regression to assess means difference across classes and to assess whether or not youth could be correctly classified into maternal caregivers’ classes, respectively.
Results: Results identified three maternal caregiver classes. About 87% of the youth were correctly classified into maternal caregiver classes. Results also suggest that membership in higher types of maternal caregivers (high encouragement and high monitoring) were associated with more conventional attitudes, high self-efficacy and lower depressive symptoms. Implications for policy, scholarship and practice are discussed.
Conclusion & Implications: Findings from this study call attention to the important role maternal caregivers play in the welfare of their adolescent offspring in high risk environments. Given the negative consequences linked to anxiety and depressive symptoms for adolescents, results of this study underscore the need to identify protective processes that may reduce adolescents’ risk for internalizing behaviors. Maternal caregivers may be central to such interventions.