Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Kliewer

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow

Third Advisor

Dr. Rosalie Corona

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Faye Z. Belgrave

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Hollee McGinnis


Worldwide, approximately 2-8 million children reside in institutional care, which can lead to developmental setbacks. Given the need for institutional care persists, it is important to continue investigating which improvements can be made to provide optimal care. The current mixed-methods study included participants from Accra, Ghana. Study 1 involved cluster analyses to determine patterns of adjustment for 100 children in institutional care (CIC) (M age = 13.31 years, SD = 3.14; 40% female) and 100 children in families (CIF) (M age = 13.37 years, SD = 3.08; 40% female) across several domains. ANOVA was used to evaluate whether protective factors differentiated between patterns. Findings were compared between the CIC and CIF. Study 2 used qualitative interviews with 38 Ghanaian teachers and institutional staff (M age = 43.31 years, SD = 10.37; 82% female) to gather adult perceptions of youth adjustment and interpretations of Study 1 results. Results revealed multiple patterns functioning for CIC and CIF. It was determined that three groups of CIC met the definition of resilience one or more areas of functioning. For CIC, problem-solving coping varied between clusters, while for CIF self-efficacy and adaptability varied significantly. Study 2 participants largely affirmed the quantitative findings, noting that children may struggle some areas while having strengths in others. Having basic needs met, a stable home, and a high level of adult support were the most common factors believed to contribute to positive functioning. Participants explained why problem-solving coping was significant for CIC. Intervention implications and future directions were discussed.


© Anna W. Wright

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