Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Robert Kronick

Committee Members

Robert Kronick, Paula Fite, Marianne Woodside, Vince Anfara

Abstract

Adjustment, particularly in adulthood, is a vague concept discussed among researchers. Most often researchers only consider lack of involvement in problem behavior as criteria for positive adjustment. Furthermore, it is unclear what factors influence the likelihood of adjustment and the influence of race on these factors is unknown. The current study proposed a composite of male adult adjustment that considers what the Wellness Model terms the “wholeness” of an individual. In addition, adolescent predictors of adult adjustment and the influence of race on factors influencing adjustment were examined in a longitudinal sample of 481 males. Results revealed 4 profiles of adjustment: 1 profile that included individuals who were overall adjusted, 2 profiles that included individuals who were moderately adjusted, and 1 profile of individuals who were maladjusted. The majority of the sample was identified as adjusted in that they were financially responsible, did not have psychological problems, engaged in little to no acts of delinquency, and acknowledged at least adequate social support. Note, however, that these individuals did engage in some substance use. The smallest profile of individuals was those who were maladjusted in that they engaged in excessive delinquency, used both drugs and drank alcohol heavily, and lacked a positive support system. However these individuals were also absent of psychological problems and were financially responsible. Findings also uncovered predictors of adjustment, such that high levels of depression, physical punishment, and poor relationships with peers were associated with only moderate levels of adjustment regardless of race. Furthermore, racial differences in predictors of adjustment were found. Anxiety and parent/child communication were associated with only moderate adjustment for African American but not Caucasian males. In contrast, mother’s arrest and peer delinquency were associated with only moderate adjustment for Caucasian American but not African American males. Recommendations for prevention and intervention strategies are discussed.

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