A common and critical issue faced by youth discharged from residential treatment is the gradual loss of gains made while in residential treatment. This can put these youth at greater risk for negative long-term outcomes such as poor behavioral and emotional functioning. The objective of this study was to identify factors that can improve long-term outcomes following discharge from residential treatment. Of special interest was the interplay of protective factors, including a variety of youth strengths (e.g., coping skills, family support, educational support) with youth behavioral and emotional outcomes. This study also considered the role of race/ethnicity, age, gender, and post-residential placement type. A sample of 799 youth who were discharged from residential treatment was examined. This study found a positive relationship between the total number of strengths at residential discharge and behavioral and emotional outcomes at 6 months following residential discharge. This study also found that the overall change in the number of youth's strengths (improvement or deterioration) after discharge from residential treatment was associated with decreased or increased youth behavioral and emotional needs over time. Additionally, change in two specific types of strengths—interpersonal and coping skills—following residential discharge was associated with decreased or increased youth behavioral and emotional needs over time. Overall, this study suggests that interventions that help to maintain or build youth strengths following discharge from residential settings may lead to decreased emotional and behavioral needs over time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science