The current study examined risk and protective factors across microsystems that impact the development of internalizing symptoms and aggression over 4 years in a sample of culturally diverse, rural adolescents. We explored whether risk and protective factors across microsystems were associated with changes in rates of internalizing symptoms and aggressive behavior. Data came from the Rural Adaptation Project (RAP), a 5-year longitudinal panel study of more than 4,000 students from 26 public middle schools and 12 public high schools. Three level HLM models were estimated to predict internalizing symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety) and aggression. Compared with other students, risk for internalizing symptoms and aggression was elevated for youth exposed to risk factors in the form of school hassles, parent-child conflict, peer rejection, and delinquent friends. Microsystem protective factors in the form of ethnic identity, religious orientation, and school satisfaction decreased risk for aggression, but were not associated with internalizing symptoms, whereas future orientation and parent support decreased risk for internalizing symptoms, but not aggression. Results indicate that risks for internalizing symptoms and aggression are similar, but that unique protective factors are related to these adolescent behavioral health outcomes. Implications and limitations were discussed.
- Internalizing symptoms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health