According to Paula Fomby of the University of Colorado, who published her research in The Journal of Marriage and Family this month, teens who had to handle multiple family changes, such as divorce, moving, or economic hardship, were more likely to engage in dangerous behavior, unprotected sex, and drug use. White teens who suffered a divorce or other upsetting family change were more likely to show the affects of their changed family dynamics than African-American teens – and were even more at risk for unhealthy behavior and teen parenthood. Finally, the study found that while divorce and location chance had negative impacts on children, having to adjust to sudden economic hardship had the most profound affect on children.
While researchers can’t say why African-American teens are better able to come to terms with changes in the family dynamic, though some suggest that a larger and more supportive adult community help kids cope with difficult times.
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