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Resilience and the role of sibling relationships among children within homeless families

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Tamara S Paula
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine how the presence of resilience was manifested in a population of children within homeless families and more specifically, whether the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to child psychological adjustment. Analyses were conducted to determine if the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to the amelioration of child psychological distress among children within homeless families, thereby promoting child resilience. The variables of the study included "resilience", sibling relationship, and psychological distress among children within homeless families. Data was collected from 60 school-aged children (26 boys and 34 girls), ages 9 to 17, who, along with their parents and siblings, resided in two, agency-operated, emergency housing centers located in Miami-Dade County. Hypothesis 1 predicted that high resilience would be related to low psychological distress. Hypothesis 2 predicted that positive sibling relationship would be related to low psychological distress and Hypothesis 3 predicted that high resilience and positive sibling relationship would be related to low psychological distress. It was concluded that "resilience" was partially related to low psychological distress; however, the relationship between positive sibling relationship and low psychological distress was not supported by the data in this study. The clinical and service implications of this study are discussed and recommendations are made for future research on this subject.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES……………………………………………………………………… vii CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION Overview…………………………………………………………………….……. 1

Recent Trends in Homelessness in the United States………………………. ……. 2 Family Homelessness…………………………..….……………….………..…..… 4 Resilience and the Role of Protective Factors…………………………………..… 6 The Effect of Homelessness on Children within Families…….……………..….… 7 The Purpose of the Study…………………………………………………….….… 13 Statement of the Research Question and Hypotheses……………………………… 13

CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW Summary……………………………………………………………...……...…..… 15 Homelessness: Current Context ............................………………………….…….. 16 Homeless Families: General Characteristics…………………………………...…... 18 Children within Homeless Families………………...……………….…….....…….. 26 General Overview of School-Aged Children and Adolescent Development. 27 The Impact of Family Homelessness on Child Mental Health……...……... 32 Recent Research and Understanding of Resilience…....…………….……......….… 38 Resilience and Sibling Relationships……………………………………….........… 41 Rationale for Examining Resilience and Sibling Relationship’s Contribution to the Amelioration of Child Psychological Distress in Children within Homeless Families……….………………………………………………………………....… 44

CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY Design……………………………………………………………………...……… 46 Variables…………………………………………………………………...……… 47 Setting…………………………………………………………………………...… 48 Participants…………………………………………………………………….…... 48 Protection of Human Participants…………………………………………...……... 49 Instruments…………………………………………………………..……...……... 50 Participant Demographic Sheet……………………………………….….... 50 Child Behavior Checklist/ 6-18……………………………………….….... 50 Sibling Relationship Questionnaire………………………………….…...... 51 Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents…………………….…...... 52 Procedures……………………………………………………………………......... 53 Analysis Plan Preliminary Analysis...................................................................................... 54 Hypothesis Testing......................................................................................... 55

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CHAPTER IV: RESULTS Summary………………………………………………………………………… 58 Preliminary Analyses……………………………………………………………. 58 Table 1: Characteristics of Parents and Children in the Study……...................... 60 Table 2: Mean, Range, and Standard Deviation for Study Variables …………... 62 Hypothesis Testing Research Question 1............................................................................. 62 Table 3: Multiple Regression Analysis for Resilience ……………...................... 64 Hypothesis Testing Research Question 2............................................................................. 64 Research Question 3............................................................................. 65 Table 4: Multiple Regression Analysis of Resilience and Sibling Relationship as Predictors of Child Behavior Problems ………………………………………… 66

CHAPTER V: DISCUSSION Summary of Findings………………………………………………………..…... 67 Implications of the Study……………………………………………………….. 71 Limitations of the Study……………………………………………………..….. 73 Suggestions for Future Research………………………………………………… 73

APPENDICES Appendix A: Participant Demographic Cover Sheet (English and Spanish)….... 75 Appendix B: Child Behavior Checklist /6-18 (English and Spanish)..……......... 77 Appendix C: Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (English and Spanish)…......... 85 Appendix D: Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents (English and Spanish)……………………………………………………............. 93 Appendix E: Parent and Child Consent Form (English and Spanish)…............... 101 Appendix F: Child Assent Form (English and Spanish)………………........…... 109 Appendix G: Letter of Cooperation with Community Partnership for Homeless……………………………………………………………….….......... 112

REFERENCES ……………………………………….…………………….............… 113

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Characteristics of Parents and Children in the Study ………………………… 60 Table 2 Mean, Range, and Standard Deviation for Study Variables ….......................... 62 Table 3 Multiple Regression Analysis for Resilience ……………………..….……..… 64 Table 4 Multiple Regression Analysis of Resilience and Sibling Relationship as Predictors of Child Behavior Problems…………………………………..…… 66

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Chapter I: Introduction Overview The literature on resilience has consistently focused on children who have demonstrated successful adaptation, despite exposure to adversity as the foundation for understanding this phenomenon. Traditionally, examinations of the processes involved in resilience have concentrated primarily on pathology, or rather the lack of it, despite the presence of potentially traumatic events (Masten & Powell, 2003). Over the years, due to refinement of the field, researchers have conceptualized resilience as the interaction between risk and protective factors that take place over time and include individual, family and larger sociocultural influences (Goldstein & Brooks, 2006; O' Dougherty- Wright, 2006; Ungar, 2005). Thus, resilience theory, although still interested in risk exposure among children, is mostly focused on the strengths of children and in acquiring an understanding of healthy development in the presence of adversity. The study focused on strengths and healthy development while simultaneously evaluating whether the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to the amelioration of child psychological distress, thereby promoting resilience in a sample of children within homeless families residing in emergency housing centers. The United States has the largest number of homeless women and children among all industrialized nations (The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). Roughly, 13.4 million families with children live below the federal poverty line where the experience of sudden unemployment or health crisis has the capacity to derail these low income families and thrust them into a state of homelessness (Urban Institute, 2009). Since the early 1980’s, families with young children have become one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population and now encompass approximately 37% of the homeless (Burt et al.,

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1999; DHHS, 2007; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009; U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 2008). This percentage translates to nearly 420,000 families with about 924,000 children experiencing homelessness in a given year (DHHS, 2007). To date, there is a large body of literature on the mental health of children and adolescents within homeless families where the effects of homelessness are explored in relation to child development. In the resilience literature, the majority of the studies on homeless children have focused on runaways, throwaways, and street youth that are unaccompanied by adults. Notably, only a few studies have explored the mechanisms of resilience within children whose families are currently experiencing homelessness. A goal of this study is to develop an understanding into the complexities of experiences that have colored the lives of these children. Recent Trends in Homelessness in the United States Homelessness in the United States, regrettably, is not a new event. In fact, the experience of homelessness is an all too common occurrence among those who live in poverty. Nearly 36 million Americans lived in poverty in 2003, which was an increase of 1.3 million from 2002 (Blanco, 2004). Annual population analyses reveal that poverty continues to rise. According to the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) (2009), 39.8 million adults and approximately 14 million children lived in poverty in 2008. During this same year, as reported by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (2008), a troubling 1.6 million people entered homeless shelters; once again bringing to light the unremitting link between poverty and homelessness. Federal officials, for the purpose of policy and intervention development, typically divide the broad homeless population into three main categories: single adults, families with children and unaccompanied youth. Utilizing these discrete groups, More than one-

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third of the nation’s homeless (37%) are families with children and nearly two-thirds (63%) are individuals, where single men make up more than half (51%) of the total homeless population with the remaining 12% and 2% occupied by single women and unaccompanied youth, respectively (Blau, 1992; U.S. HUD, 2008). However, research over the years has shown that these classifications, in many cases, overlap considerably, thereby blurring the line of distinction between the categories. For instance, Burt et al. (1999) has revealed that 60% of single homeless women and 41% of homeless men were, in actuality, parents, yet only 65% of these women were currently homeless with their children and only 7% of homeless men had their children with them in shelter. In a multi- city study involving homeless youth, researchers found that close to 50% of the homeless adolescent girls were either currently or recently pregnant (Kral, Molnar, Booth, & Watters, 1997; Stormont, 2008). Such findings make apparent that distributed throughout these statistics are a large number of families that the categories fail to capture. Studies have shown that pathways into homelessness often vary. Some individuals slip into homelessness due to person-based aspects such as substance abuse, mental health issues, physical health, domestic violence, single motherhood, and low educational attainment. For others, homelessness can be attributed to environment-based factors like the lack of affordable housing, welfare reform, poor economic conditions, and a tight labor market. Unfortunately for many, particularly families, the experience of homelessness is a multifaceted one generally occurring at the intersection where the individual and contextual factors meet. Regardless of the events that lead to loss of residence, the incidence of homelessness can be not only strenuous for the individual going through it, but it can also substantially undermine the overall structure and function of a family.

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Family Homelessness Historically, a homeless family has been identified as headed by a single woman in her late 20s with approximately two children, where one or both children are under the age of six (Burt et al., 1999; DHHS, 2007). Recent investigations on family composition have revealed that, although a large number of homeless families fit the above mentioned profile, many families who access shelter services vary in size and structure and often include two parent households, a higher number of children than actually present at time of admission and families headed by single men (Paquette & Bassuk, 2009). Given that poverty, unemployment, low wages, insufficient affordable housing and domestic violence have been the key sources of family homelessness over the years, a large percentage of previous research on homelessness is centered on defining the scope of the problem and identifying risk factors, primarily to inform public policy and to guide the allocation of resources (Paquette & Bassuk, 2009). Studies across the homeless experience have revealed many difficulties encountered by these families. For example, a substantial segment of homeless families experience the separation of a child from the family, either temporarily or permanently, in the form of foster care placement (DHHS, 2007).

Cowal, Shinn, Weitman, Stojanovic, and Labay (2002) found that 44% of mothers had become separated from one or more of her children five years after entering homeless shelters in New York. Undeniably, separations can acutely disrupt the overall structure of a family. Family separations can also, as several studies have indicated, promote a transgenerational cycle of homelessness (DHHS, 2007). To illustrate, Zlotnick, Kronstadt, and Klee's (1998) study of 195 foster children, found that almost half of the birth parents of the foster children had experienced homelessness during childhood and these foster children were

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more likely to be placed with non-relative care-givers and have siblings in foster care when compared to other foster children. The complex circumstances that tend to surround family homelessness can lead to the development of psychological distress. For example, a common pattern of a family facing potential homelessness is usually comprised of numerous residential relocations to include living “doubled up” with friends or relatives for a period of time before accessing an emergency homeless shelter. Generally, this residential instability pattern among homeless families is preceded by an escalation in adverse events, to include violence, immediately prior to leaving a residence (Obradovic et al., 2009). This destabilization of housing can cause significant difficulties for a family as children become subject to a host of changes that have potential long-term effects on their development. Experiences such as hunger, physical illness, educational disruptions, loss of friends, and violence exposure are unfortunately common in the lives of homeless children. Unsuccessful attempts at coping with these challenges can affect normal development, create emotional and behavioral problems, as well as disrupt a child’s growing sense of self-worth. Furthermore, these children predictably become vulnerable to a multitude of developmental difficulties that stem from the residential disruption, which include negative self appraisal and self contempt that can ultimately become part of a children’s emerging self image (Levy & Orlans, 1998).Thus, it becomes clear that homelessness can have significant psychological and social effects on the developing child. Undoubtedly, the prevailing methodology in studying children in homeless families is in terms of their risk exposure and pathology (Paquette & Bassuk, 2009). The relationship between homelessness and child psychological distress has been established (Bassuk, Buckner, Perloff, & Bassuk, 1998; Bassuk et al., 1997; Bassuk & Rosenberg,

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1990; Buckner, 2007; Buckner, Bassuk, Weinreb, & Brooks, 1999; DHHS, 2007). Typically, the evaluation of homeless children has been concentrated on quantifying the effects of trauma and loss on normative development. While this pathology-focused investigation style may give rise to symptom-relief therapeutic interventions; it can also lead to the undervaluing of a child’s inherent strengths and resilience (Lustig et al., 2004; Schmitz, Wagner, & Meneke, 2001). Resilience and the Role of Protective Factors In examining the concept of resilience, a main prerequisite is the presence of both risks and protective factors that either facilitate a positive outcome or reduce or avert a negative outcome (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). Traditionally, the professional literature on childhood resilience has been primarily risk focused. Empirical investigations have examined the adverse effects of poverty, parental psychopathology, developmental deficits and family structure disruptions on child development. Recently, Protective factors necessary for positive adaptation and the well-being of at-risk children have been the focus of several studies (Goldstein & Brooks, 2006; Luthar, 2003; Ungar, 2005). Protective factors assist children in avoiding the negative effects of risk exposure and are broadly classified as either assets or resources (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). Assets, which reside within the individual, include attributes such as intelligence, a sense of mastery/ self- efficacy, management of emotional reactivity and a sense of social relatedness (Prince- Embury, 2006). Resources are defined as external and often encompass social and environmental influences, such as parental support and involvement, adult mentors, schools, or community organizations that promote positive youth development (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). The relationship between risk and protective processes is viewed as occurring over the course of normative development and is shaped by contextual

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influences (O'Dougherty-Wright, 2006). Thus, it is the use of assets or resources to overcome risks that illustrates resilience as a process and not a static trait unique to an individual (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). Hence, resilience has been regarded as a universal phenomenon resulting from the performance of basic, evolutionarily rooted, human adaptational systems (Goldstein & Brooks, 2006). When operational, these systems promote successful development in the presence of adversity; however, if there are deficits in these systems, they can result in impaired adaptation for the developing child (Goldstein & Brooks, 2006). Since adaptation is rooted within the context of multiple systems of interactions, including the family, school, community and culture, a child’s resilience is contingent upon the presence of other people, as well as other systems of influence (Riley & Masten, 2005). Increasingly, researchers have associated the emergence of resilience in at-risk children to key protective factors in the family and social context (Walsh, 2006). However, according to Walsh (2006), many studies of individual resilience have often approached the relational context of normative development narrowly, choosing primarily to focus on the dyadic relationship between parent and child, while overlooking the potential influence of other individuals within the family unit. Coinciding with this claim, Sanders (2004) has stated that the impact of sibling relationships on individual growth has been underemphasized in the child development literature. This point is significant, especially in light of the fact that there are approximately 73 million children in the U.S. and 21% of American families contain three or more children under the age of 18 living within the household (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). The Effect of Homelessness on Children within Families The literature on children within homeless families goes as far back as 1987 (Buckner, 2007). The research on these children has revealed a number of significant

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findings. To illustrate, homeless children are twice as likely to experience hunger as compared to other children (DHHS, 2007; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008). Children who experience homelessness are more than twice as likely as middle-class children to have severe to chronic health issues, such as asthma, ear infections and gastrointestinal problems (Buckner, 2007; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). Furthermore, both preschool and school-age homeless children have higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems, including anxiety, depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior, when compared to non-homeless children (Garmezy, 1993; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). In addition, homeless children are twice as likely to experience educational disruptions, repeat a grade in school, to be expelled or suspended, or to drop out of high school (Buckner, 2007; DHHS, 2007; Obradovic et al., 2009; Stormont, 2008; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). A large number of children within homeless families have mothers with histories of childhood homelessness (DHHS, 2007), foster care placement (Baumohl, 1996; Cowal et al., 2002; DHHS, 2007; Stormont, 2008; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009; Zlotnick, Kronstadt, & Klee, 1998), trauma exposure (DHHS, 2007; Obradovic et al., 2009; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009), episodic employment (DHHS, 2007; Reingold & Fertig, 2007), limited education, substance abuse, physical and mental health issues (Burt & Cohen, 1989; Burt et al., 1999; Cowal et al., 2002; DHHS, 2007; Paquette & Bassuk, 2009; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008; U.S. HUD, 2008). These maternal challenges tend to become exacerbated by an episode of homelessness. This, in turn, can reduce a mother’s capacity to effectively parent and meet the physical and emotional needs of her children. Hence, the experience of parental emotional unavailability, coupled with the stress of

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residential instability, conspire to create a destabilizing effect on a child’s subsequent adaptation. To date, there is an extensive literature on the mental health of children and adolescents within homeless families where the child’s mental health, behavioral and academic achievement are examined in relation to the impact of homelessness. In the resilience literature, studies on homeless children have focused on runaway, throwaway, street youth that are unaccompanied by an adult. Surprisingly, within the rich body of literature on homeless children, the strengths and resilience of these children within homeless families while housed in emergency housing shelters has received little attention. This already sparse literature becomes even more limited with regard to sibling relationships and its potential for uniquely contributing to children’s psychological adjustment, thereby promoting resilience in children within homeless families. This point is noteworthy, considering a homeless mother, by and large, will access shelter services with some, if not all, of her children in tow. This study focused on a group of children within homeless families housed in agency-operated emergency housing centers in Miami Dade County, Florida. This investigation is of importance in that the current number of homeless families is substantial and the evidence seems to suggest, particularly in light of the present economic recession, that at least two million Americans are likely to encounter home foreclosures and experience homelessness in the foreseeable future, particularly in Florida (Goodman, 2009; Sard, 2009; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008; U.S. HUD, 2008). Furthermore, historic interventions and programs designed to address homelessness mainly focus on the adults’ housing instability and their barriers to achieving self-sufficiency with little knowledge of the assets and

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capabilities that these families may inherently possess. Although researchers have succeeded in illuminating the detrimental effects of homelessness on child development, this restricted attention to risk factors has left the knowledge regarding protective factors and the inherent strengths that lie within a homeless child under developed. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of children within homeless families is necessary in order to provide proper assistance, maximize positive outcomes and reduce the prospect of transgenerational transmission of homelessness. Also, there is a literature on resilience that states that a large number of children adjust adequately to adversity and are able to thrive; however, it is unclear how much of that knowledge is applicable to this group of children and it is unknown whether sibling relationships are an important consideration for this population. The relationship between homelessness and mental health in children within homeless families has been examined (Buckner, 2007; Buckner, Bassuk, Weinreb, & Brooks, 1999; DHHS, 2007; Guarino, Rubin, & Bassuk, 2007; Stormont, 2008; The National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009). Previous research has demonstrated that children and adolescents are vulnerable to psychological problems when they experience family homelessness. Furthermore, the vulnerability to psychopathology increases for homeless children and adolescents whose care-givers, primarily mothers, are compromised due to their own difficulties, such as unemployment, domestic violence, mental health, and/ or substance abuse problems (Finkelstein et al., 2005). However, certain protective factors appear to exist that could potentially temper or exacerbate poor psychological health in the face of adversity. These include family cohesion, parental psychological health, individual dispositional factors, such as a sense of mastery, modulation of emotional reactivity and social relatedness, and environmental factors such as peer and

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community support (Bernard, 2004; Luthar, 2003; Masten, 2001; Masten, Herbers, Cutuli, & LaFavor, 2008; Masten & Powell, 2003; Prince-Embury, 2006). While some of the factors that have been recognized as promoting resilience focus on individual functioning, such as cognitive and problem solving skills, social relatedness, and the ability to emotionally self-regulate, the structure and role of these factors can be shaped by or can interact with family system processes and the “web of relationships” (Walsh, 2006, pg. 15) formed by siblings and others within the extended family network. A family is a human system comprised of the interactions among its members (Becvar & Becvar, 1999). While the resilience literature has increasingly acknowledged the importance of utilizing a relational perspective in understanding the mechanisms that support positive growth in children, the role of the parent-child relationship on psychological development has ruled the research landscape, hence casting a shadow over the potential influence of other members within a family system (Walsh, 2006). The sibling relationship is a unique connection amongst the numerous relationships in a child’s life and thus, has the ability to impact and even possibly guide the interactions with others outside the family (Waddell, Pepler, & Moore, 2001). Furthermore, over the course of the life span, siblings can often be an important source of comfort and support, particularly during challenging times (Furman & Buhrmester, 1985a; Lamb & Sutton-Smith, 1982; Waddell et al., 2001). For example, Kaslow, Deering, and Racusin (1994), in their review of the literature on the family variables associated with depression and children, identified that when mothers suffer from depression, the quality of the sibling relationship predicts depressive symptoms in children from single parent families, where the greater the closeness between siblings is correlated to lower levels of depression. In addition, a 30- year longitudinal study on the predictors of adult male depression found that men who had

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poor relationships with their siblings had higher incidents of depression and that the sibling relationship was a more important predictor of depression than the parent-child relationship (Waldinger, Vaillant, & Orav, 2007). These positive associations between the quality of sibling relationships and psychological well-being have also been found by Waddell et al. (2001) in their investigation involving the comparison of sibling sets that have been exposed to spousal abuse within the home to siblings who came from non- violent families. Their findings indicate that siblings from violent families are able to provide one another support and mutual affection while living in a domestic violence shelter, thus lending support to the notion that the sibling relationship can serve as a buffer for children experiencing negative life events (pg. 252). Along similar findings, a longitudinal study conducted by Gass, Jenkins, and Dunn (2007) in England revealed that siblings who share an affectionate relationship experience less internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms, after experiencing stressful life events, defined as divorce, illness, accidents, marital discord, separation, natural disaster and school difficulties. Interestingly, their results also indicate that the protective effect of the sibling relationship perseveres over and above the effect of the parent-child relationship, to which they have concluded that the protection provided by a positive sibling relationship is not dependent upon on the quality of the existing parent-child relationship (pg. 172). In light of these findings regarding the positive role sibling relationships have in promoting well- being for children who have experienced parental psychopathology and family violence, it seems reasonable to explore whether the sibling relationship provides a unique contribution to child psychological adjustment, thus playing a role in promoting resilience in children within homeless families, for within the extensive literature on these children, there has been little systematic exploration into the presence of resilience within this

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population and the potential role sibling relationships have in contributing to child resilience. The Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to evaluate how the presence of resilience is manifested in a population of children within homeless families residing in emergency housing centers and more specifically, whether the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to child psychological adjustment, thereby promoting child resilience. Therefore, hypothesis testing analysis was conducted to determine if the sibling relationship provides a unique contribution to the amelioration of child psychological distress among children within homeless families, for research over the last several years has revealed the capacity of sibling relationships to promote the psychological health of children exposed to stressful life events (Gass et al., 2007). Furthermore, longitudinal research has demonstrated the impact of childhood sibling relationship on subsequent adult psychological well-being (Gass et al., 2007; Waldinger et al., 2007). The goal of this investigation was to address the literature’s limitations regarding to the presence of resilience and the role of sibling relationships within this population. Statement of the Research Question and Hypotheses This study posed the following research questions: (1) how is the presence of resilience manifested in a population of children within homeless families?; (2) does the sibling relationship contribute to the ability to manage psychological distress in children within homeless families?; and (3) when both resilience and the sibling relationship are examined together, does the sibling relationship make a unique contribution to the amelioration of psychological distress in children within homeless families? It was hypothesized that among children within homeless families:

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1) Resilience, as measured by the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents (RSCA), would manifest as high scores on the mastery and relatedness scales and low scores on the emotional reactivity scale and would be associated with low total problem score on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). 2) Positive sibling relationship, as measure on the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ), would be exhibited as high scores on the warmth scale and power/status scale and low scores on the conflict and rivalry scales and would be associated with low total problem score on the CBCL. 3) When both resilience and the sibling relationship are examined together, the sibling relationship would contribute to child resilience, beyond their levels of mastery, sense of relatedness and levels of emotional reactivity and would be associated with low total problem score on the CBCL.

Full document contains 135 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine how the presence of resilience was manifested in a population of children within homeless families and more specifically, whether the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to child psychological adjustment. Analyses were conducted to determine if the sibling relationship provided a unique contribution to the amelioration of child psychological distress among children within homeless families, thereby promoting child resilience. The variables of the study included "resilience", sibling relationship, and psychological distress among children within homeless families. Data was collected from 60 school-aged children (26 boys and 34 girls), ages 9 to 17, who, along with their parents and siblings, resided in two, agency-operated, emergency housing centers located in Miami-Dade County. Hypothesis 1 predicted that high resilience would be related to low psychological distress. Hypothesis 2 predicted that positive sibling relationship would be related to low psychological distress and Hypothesis 3 predicted that high resilience and positive sibling relationship would be related to low psychological distress. It was concluded that "resilience" was partially related to low psychological distress; however, the relationship between positive sibling relationship and low psychological distress was not supported by the data in this study. The clinical and service implications of this study are discussed and recommendations are made for future research on this subject.