Family environment and adolescent hopelessness in low-income, urban African American families
Literature on the subject of adolescent development in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods has detailed negative consequences for mental health outcomes. These neighborhoods not only affect adolescents, but can increase stress and strain on families. Urban, African American families who reside in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods are not immune from the potential hazards of economic stress, strained familial relationships, social disorganization, and other negative consequences which impact optimal family functioning. Utilizing HLM techniques, this study examined the relationship between dimensions of the family environment and adolescent feelings of hopelessness. In general, a more supportive family environment resulted in lower scores of adolescent hopelessness. However, higher conflict in families also resulted in lower scores of adolescent hopelessness, indicating a need to further explore the nature of conflict in families who reside in high-risk neighborhoods. Directions for future research and implications for social work practice are outlined.