Risk and protective factors among at-risk ultraorthodox Jewish youth in Israel: A contextual model of positive adjustment

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Abstract

This study examined the role of personal (mastery), familial (relationship with parents), and communal (sense of community and sense of belonging to a youth centre) aspects for at-risk youths' adjustment. Specifically, we investigated their role as protective and risk factors for behavioural adjustment (risk behaviour) and psychological adjustment (hope). The study, conducted among Ultraorthodox Jewish males, included 80 participants, ages 14–24 (M = 16.8, SD = 2.33), who attended youth centres designed especially for Ultraorthodox at-risk youth, in five cities with a high percentage of Ultraorthodox population. Findings indicated a significant contribution of mastery to lower levels of risk behaviour and to higher levels of hope. The youth/parent relationship made a significant contribution only to lower levels of risk behaviours, while sense of community made a significant positive contribution only to hope. Surprisingly, the sense of belonging to a youth centre was found to be a risk factor for higher levels of risk behaviours. In contrast, a mediation model revealed an indirect positive contribution of sense of belonging to a youth centre to hope via mastery. The discussion highlights the unique phenomena of at-risk youth in the Ultraorthodox community and suggest carefully and thoroughly checking whether youth centres in this context should actually be discouraged. It also addresses the importance of recognising the unique protective and risk factors for positive adjustment among at-risk Ultraorthodox youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-435
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • adjustment
  • at-risk youth
  • hope
  • risk behaviours
  • ultraorthodox community

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