Youth purpose and the perception of social supports among African-American girls

Mariano, J. M., Going, J., Schrock, K., & Sweeting, K.
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Journal of Youth Studies, 14(8), 921-928.

Purpose in adolescence is linked to positive developmental outcomes, and yet little is known about how youth purpose is supported by people and institutions that occupy the ecologies in which young people are embedded. Little is known too about how African-American youths envision themselves in the future, and understanding the nature of their purposes may uncover critical information about these adolescents’ aspirations. Associations between purpose and social supports were examined in a sample of 46 adolescent girls in the southeastern United States (Mean age = 12.83 years; SD = 1.14 years) (African-American/Black 78.3%; Multiracial 15.2%; White/Caucasian 6.5%). Qualitative content analysis of interviews identified five forms of purpose experienced by these young people. Surveys measu