Transition from high school is a major normative event in early adulthood characterized by significant developmental challenges and occurring during a period of documented mental health risk. Despite the importance of this life transition in the young adult period, it has received virtually no attention in mental health research. The proposed research will systematically study a cohort of high school students as they make and carry through plans for school and work subsequent to the transition, and the consequences of their coping efforts for subsequent role adjustment and mental health. The research framework integrates the perspectives found in the family socialization theory, with its emphasis on the parenting milieu, and social support theory, with its emphases on coping and risk reduction.
Specific aims i nvolve understanding the role of the family in promoting effective and ineffective transition preparatory coping, which is hypothesized to facilitate role entry and reduce subsequent disruptions and access to and use of school-based resources and , in particular, whether youths from disadvantaged family backgrounds can benefit from involvement in school programs to facilitate transition. Results should inform models of social support intervention through attention to both long term developmental processes and more proximate institutional programs (in the school) to reduce the mental health risk inherent in this major life transition. Results should also suggest ways in which families can help to maximize the effects of school based resources in fostering the child's transition to adulthood. A heterogenous cohort of 1370 young adults, drawn from community high school populations, will be interviewed first as high school in this cohort who have dropped out of school will also be followed. Data from parents and school records will also be utilized.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Social and Group Processes Review Committee (SGP)
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University of Massachusetts Boston
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Tauriac, Jesse J; Liem, Joan H (2012) Exploring the divergent academic outcomes of U.S.-origin and immigrant-origin Black undergraduates. J Divers High Educ 5:
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