Research Summary Recap: Primary Sources 2010

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This year, NCFY’s Primary Sources column examined research on a wide variety of topics, from improving mentoring practice to working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth to smoothing the rough road to adulthood. Here are some highlights:

Time yields trust for mentors and mentees. The authors of one of the few mentoring studies to focus specifically on children of prisoners found that children’s difficulties at home—including poverty and family transitions—created challenges for mentors. Many mentors had concerns about the children’s trust and comfort in the mentoring relationship. But the challenges subsided and trust increased after several months, a finding consistent with previous research on mentoring.
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Proven programs to prevent teen pregnancy. Though national teen pregnancy and birth rates have fallen over the last 20 years, the United States still has some of the highest rates among industrialized nations. Appropriately, recent research has focused on replicating effective programs, and the federal government has made evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention a priority in new grant programs from the Office of Adolescent Health and the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Primary Sources looked at four recent reviews of the literature on teen pregnancy prevention.
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Befriending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. If homophobia among straight youth contributes negatively to the health and safety of LGBTQ youth, then understanding the attitudes of straight youth toward homosexuality is important. The authors of one study looked at two large samples of middle school and high school youth to examine heterosexual students’ willingness to remain friends and attend school with peers who come out. Younger adolescents, girls and students who attended racially diverse schools were the most willing to be friends with gay and lesbian youth.
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The rocky road to adulthood. Chapin Hall’s most recent installment of its ongoing effort to track former foster youth found that only one-quarter of the young people studied reported feeling very prepared to be self-sufficient when they exited foster care. More than two-thirds of the young adults had lived in at least three different places after exiting foster care, and nearly one quarter had been homeless at some point. Yet the young people surveyed were generally optimistic about the future, had high educational aspirations, maintained a positive attitude about the child welfare system, and intended to turn to the system for help in the future.
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A troubling link among homeless youth. According to a study in Columbus Ohio, homeless youth with histories of childhood abuse are more than twice as likely as other homeless youth to have been hit, slapped, called names repeatedly, or otherwise physically hurt or verbally abused by a romantic or sexual partner. Among the 180 adolescents interviewed for the study, the link between childhood abuse and relationship violence did not differ by age, race or ethnicity.
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Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of these and other publications.

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