Abstract: (Withdrawn) Future Orientation Among at-Risk Youth (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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682P (Withdrawn) Future Orientation Among at-Risk Youth

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Eran P. Melkman, Ph.D, Faculy member, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Yafit Sulimani- Aidan, PhD, A professor at Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Background: Positive future orientation (FO) is a protective factor linked to resiliency among youth. This study's goal was to explore the factors and mechanisms that promote positive FO among at-risk youth. Specifically, we investigated the mechanism through which mentoring relationships and perceived life skills contribute to FO.

Methods: The study sample included 198 adolescents 16-19 years of age (M = 17.68; SD = 0.63) from 11 (out of 14) special public schools in Israel serve students identified by educational authorities as at-risk educationally and developmentally. The instruments tapped the young adult's FO, mentoring relationships (e.g., longevity, duration), life skills, and individual and school characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnicity, and mother’s education, number of former schools).

Results: Results showed that mothers' education and mentor support were positively associated with both life skills and FO (r = 0.49, 0.39, p < 0.001, respectively). Fit indices of the theoretical model indicated that the model yielded a good fit to the data: χ2(60, N = 198) = 84.23, p = .021, TLI = .978, CFI = 0.983, SRMR = .031, RMSEA = .045 (90% CI = .018- .067), and that predictors explained 37% of the variance in resilience. Structural equation modelling indicated an indirect association between youths’ FO and mentor support, mediated by their life skills. Specifically, mentor support predicted higher levels of life skills (β = 0.55, p < .001). In turn, higher life skills positively contributed to FO (β = 0.51, p < .001), fully mediating its relationship with mentor support (β = 0.28, p < .001).

Conclusions and Implications: Findings emphasize the role of personal and relational relationships in shaping youths' perceptions of their future. One important implication is that settings for at-risk youth should integrate programs concerning the youths' perception of their future and preparation towards their future both practically and mentally.