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Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research

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Classroom environment, School environment -- United States, Youth development -- United States, National Children's Study (Project), Educational evaluation, Social work with youth


Emerging adults who receive services based on positive youth development models have shown an ability to shape their own life course to achieve positive goals. This paper reports secondary data analysis from the Longitudinal Child and Family Outcome Study including 248 culturally-diverse youth ages 17 through 22 receiving mental health services in systems of care. After 12 months of services, school performance was positively related to youth ratings of school functioning, and service participation and satisfaction. Regression analysis revealed ratings of young peoples’ perceptions of school functioning and their experience in services added to the significant prediction of satisfactory school performance, even controlling for sex and attendance. Finally, in addition to expected predictors, participation in planning their own services significantly predicted enrollment in higher education for those who finished high school. Findings suggest that programs and practices based on positive youth development approaches can improve educational outcomes for emerging adults.


This is the authors' version of a manuscript was published online March 25, 2015 in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. The final publication is available at Springer via



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