Coping, stress, and social support associations with internalizing and externalizing behavior among urban adolescents and young adults: Revelations from a cluster analysis

S. Darius Tandon*, Jacinda K. Dariotis, Margaret G. Tucker, Freya L. Sonenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To use cluster analysis to explore how coping, stress, and social support align and intersect with each other and relate to internalizing and externalizing behavior among urban adolescents and young adults disconnected from school and work. Methods: Baseline audio computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) data from a study of 683 urban, low-income, African-American 16-24-year-old youth (mean age = 18.7; SD = 1.8) participating in an employment training program was cluster analyzed. This method reveals how well youth group together based on coping strategies, stress exposure, and social support. Results: Using four coping, two support, and two stress subscales, a three-cluster solution best fit the data. One cluster, representing 65% of the sample, was characterized by moderate coping, high support, and low stress. These youth also reported lower weapon carrying compared to youth in the remaining two clusters. Another cluster, representing 17% of the sample, was defined by high coping, moderate support, and high stress. Youth in this cluster reported the highest levels of depressive symptoms and high levels of suicidal ideation as well as high levels of perpetrating intimate partner violence compared to other youth. The final cluster, also representing 17% of the sample, was marked by low coping, low support, and low stress. These youth also reported high levels of suicidal ideation. Conclusions: Given the varying profiles of stress, support, and coping reported by urban adolescents and young adults, future research and policy should further explore targeted and tailored intervention approaches for these youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-633
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

Keywords

  • Adolescent mental health
  • Cluster analysis
  • Coping
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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