Parental closeness and problem behaviors in a national welfare sample

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study is a secondary data analysis that examines the links between child reports of parental closeness with their out-of-home caregivers and behavior problems for maltreated children placed in out-of-home care in the US. This cross-sectional analysis used panel data from The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to evaluate responses from an earlier time point and to determine a correlation between measures at a later time point. The measures for Parental Closeness were taken from Wave 1 of data collection; the measures for Problem Behaviors were from Wave 4, the last wave of data collection for this sample. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the relationship between parental closeness scales and problem behavior scales within a subsample of children, 11 years and older in Long-Term Foster Care (LTFC), taken from NSCAW data, Waves 1 and 4 (n =188). The model that best reflects theory and research is also the most parsimonious: a two-construct, seven- indicator recursive model with an inverse correlation between the exogenous and endogenous variables. A good fit for the model gives some support to the hypothesis that experiences and perceptions about caregivers explain some of the variance in problem behaviors, with a nonsignificant chi-square statistic indicating a good model fit to the sample variance-covariance matrix (x² = 9.35, df = 13, p = .74). Other model fit indices indicate a good data-to-model fit, thus confirming the final model (e.g. GFI = .99, NFI = .98, CFI = 1.0, and RMSEA = 0.0).

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Social work