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Predictors of Post-High School Education Among Homeless Youth

Nathaniel Israel, MA, Psychology, Wayne State University, 71 W. Warren, Detroit, MI 48201, (313) 577-5819, ae9088@wayne.edu, Debra M. Hernandez Jozefowicz-Simbeni, MSW, PhD, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, 4756 Cass, Thompson Home, Room 314, Detroit, MI 48202, and Leena Hadied, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan - Dearborn, 71 W. Warren, Detroit, MI 48201.

Homeless youth face a number of obstacles to high educational attainment, including marked family discord, frequent mobility, grade retention, and behavioral disorders that interfere with classroom learning. This study examines ecological predictors of post-high school (HS) enrollment among a demographically matched sample of homeless and housed adolescents followed into young adulthood. The sample (N = 149) is composed of predominantly female (70% female) youth, with equal representation European American (EA) and African American (AA) youth (46% EA, 45% AA); the remaining participants represented Hispanic (2.5%) and other ethnic groups (6.5%). At baseline the mean sample age was 15.9 years; at follow-up 20.4 years.

Correlation analyses assessed the association between entry into post-HS education and a number of predictor variables. Predictor variables reflected multiple levels of ecology: societal norms (sex, ethnicity, and age), neighborhood environment (percent college educated in census tract), family environment (motherís educational attainment, parent-child conflict), and the individual (perceived academic competence, grade repetition, conduct disorder symptoms, deviant peer involvement).

Variables that correlated significantly with the outcome were entered into a logistic regression equation. Results of the regression indicate that age (Exp(B) = 1.86, p < .001), neighborhood educational attainment (Exp(B) = 1.75, p < .001), grade repetition (Exp(B) = 0.32, p < .05), and housing status (Exp(B) = 0.44, p < .01) all significantly predicted entry to post-HS education. Results indicate that older age, higher neighborhood educational attainment, successful grade completion, and being housed are all associated with a greater likelihood of entry to post-HS education.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homeless, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Interventions, Evaluations and Research Issues and Findings Among Homeless Populations

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA