Poverty, parenting stress, and adolescent mental health: The protective role of school connectedness reexamined

Publication Year


Journal Article

Adolescents who are from low-income families and exposed to heightened levels of parenting stress are at a higher risk of having mental health issues. We conducted path analyses to assess the potentially protective role of school connectedness against depressive symptoms and anxiety in adolescents from the influences of poverty and parenting stress, using the Wave 6 data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, where 3,580 primary caregivers and 3,444 adolescents completed surveys. We found that adolescents reporting higher levels of school connectedness tended to come from higher-income families, face less parenting stress, and experience lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety. Nonetheless, school connectedness did not ameliorate the impact of poverty and parenting stress on adolescent mental health. The findings revealed the complexity of family and school interaction and the limitation of targeting school connectedness as an intervention point to counter the influences of negative experiences at the family level.

Children and Youth Services Review
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