In this application, we request five years of support to collect three additional waves of data from participants in the Families In It Together (FIIT) project, a prospective longitudinal study of a cohort of rural African American youths and their families. Analyses of data collected during early (11-14 years) and later (15-18 years) adolescence identified parenting styles, involvement in family and community networks, collective socialization and monitoring in extended kin networks, and racial socialization as processes that promoted positive development and shielded youths from the effects of economic hardship, racial discrimination, and oppressive social structures. It is not known, though, whether or how these processes carry forward to promote development during emerging adulthood. In rural Georgia, few high school graduates receive postsecondary education and few job opportunities that can lead to meaningful careers are available to emerging adults. With no stake in conventional educational or occupational systems, rural African Americans are at risk for compromised psychological adjustment and health outcomes. In addition to the stress associated with opportunity limitations, rural African Americans frequently experience racial discrimination and encounter oppressive social structures. Despite these contextual challenges, many rural African American adults find steady employment or continue their educations;experience positive adjustment and good health;and form social connections with informal mentors, friends, and romantic partners. The processes responsible for explaining the diverse outcomes of this population during emerging adulthood have not been addressed. No longitudinal studies track rural African Americans'development as they transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood;the proposed research is designed to help meet this need and to provide information that will inform the development of preventive interventions for this understudied population. Public Health Relevance: The proposed research will identify how families, friends, and mentors in rural African American communities promote the development of adolescents as they leave high school and begin vocational or educational pursuits. The results of the proposed research will be used to inform the design of prevention programs for rural African American emerging adults and their families.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
Program Officer
Esposito, Layla E
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University of Georgia
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United States
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