Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Pamela Kovacs


Based on a resilience framework, the purpose of this study was to address knowledge gaps about minority youths who lived in rural and poor areas, had a primary caregiver with a diagnosis of depression, and faced multiple psychosocial stressors. Three research objectives included: 1) To explore the association between ecological protective factors and four developmental outcomes-emotional adjustment, behavioral adjustment, school performance, and educational aspiration; 2) To identify the robust protective factors; and 3) To explore the interactive relationships between risk and robust protective factors. Families (N=126) where the primary caregiver had a diagnosis of major depression and had a child aged 10-14 years old were selected for this study. This study used a longitudinal data set: Family and Community Health Study (FACHS). Six theoretical protective factors in individual-family-community levels and four youths’ developmental outcomes were selected from the FACHS: emotional adjustment; behavioral adjustment; school performance; and educational aspiration. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted for each of the youths’ developmental outcomes. Before conducting the regression analyses, factor analysis, power analysis, data screening and regression assumptions assessment were conducted. For the research objective 1 and 2, this study’s findings suggested that overall, with the exception of parental monitoring, these theoretical protective factors only operated in specific developmental domains. Only parental monitoring was identified as a robust protective factor for this population. The regression model (R2adj) explained 11.5 % of the variance of depression, 29.8 % of conduct behavior, 15.2 % of school performance, and 18.7 % of educational aspiration. Youths’ optimism (ß=-.215) significantly contributed to the Emotional Adjustment Model. Youths’ self control (ß=-.210), prosocial friendship (ß=-.187), and parental monitoring (ß=-.250) significantly contributed to the Behavioral Adjustment Model. Parental monitoring (ß=.189) significantly contributed to the School Performance Model. Parental monitoring (ß=.278) and teacher’s support (ß=.292) significantly contributed to the Educational Aspiration Model. For objective 3, this study suggested that the effect of parental monitoring did not vary by the risk levels. In other words, regardless of the change of risk effect, parental monitoring consistently functioned as a protective effect on youth’s educational aspiration. Based on the findings from this study, six suggestions for future research, four recommendations for intervention and mental health-related services systems, and one suggestion for social work education were provided.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2009

Included in

Social Work Commons