Fostering resilience, a group intervention to enhance protective factors and reduce risks correlated with adolescent parenting

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Funk, Candace J.
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A review of the literature indicates that adolescent childbearing is associated with increased life stress and is known to place both the young mother and her child at risk for negative future life consequences. Yet at the same time, there are those adolescent mothers who are resilient. That is, they are able to overcome adversity without apparent detrimental outcomes. The purpose of this practicum was to plan, implement and evaluate a group intervention aimed at fostering resilience in adolescent mothers. It was assumed that this could occur in two ways: (1) by enhancing protective factors in adolescent mothers and (2) by reducing risks correlated with adolescent parenting. The two groups focused on developing the protective skills to decrease stress, increase social support, and diminish risks by anchoring the mothers in networks that encouraged emotional ventilation, personal validation, offered psychosocial resources, and fostered affiliation through identification with others. The evaluation instruments utilized to assess change included the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations: Adolescent Version (Endler & Parker, 1994), the Parenting Stress Index: Short Form (Abidin, 1995) and the Perceived Social Support Friends/Family Scales (Procidano & Heller, 1983). Although outcomes after the eight-week intervention did not reveal changes in all participants, statistically significant findings (between pre and post group measurements) were evident in some forms of coping and in perceived levels of social support from friends. Overall, the participants attested to the group's value and outcomes further demonstrated that interventions rooted in resilience hold promise for positive change.