Psychological distress among care leavers during the transition to adulthood: Risk and protective factors throughout their life course

Yafit Sulimani-Aidan, Netta Achdut, Anat Zeira, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The transition period from care to independent living is a vulnerable time for care leavers who may experience increased mental health problems. This study explored risk and protective factors contributing to and predicting their psychological distress as emerging adults. The study is based on an extensive set of longitudinal administrative records combined with structured phone interviews among a representative sample of 2295 alumni of educational residential care in Israel (24–31 years old). Results indicated the importance of social support from peers and staff while in and after care in predicting lower psychological distress among the young adults. Participating in skills acquisition activities while in care and integration in post-secondary education also predicted lower psychological distress. In contrast, post-care material deprivation and lower life satisfaction in the area of finance and work were associated with greater psychological distress. Both the subjective experiences and the objective conditions thus contribute to care leavers' mental health. Our results indicate the importance for policy and practice of approaching mental health issues in a holistic manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-339
Number of pages16
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • care leavers
  • mental health
  • psychological distress
  • resilience
  • social resources
  • transition to adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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