Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Adolescent Research 30:1 (2015), pp 113–139. DOI: 10.1177/0743558414552322


Copyright © 2014 Rochelle L. Dalla and Heather R. Kennedy. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


In 1992 and 1995, data were collected from 29 Navajo Reservation teenage mothers. In 2007, 71% (n = 21) of the original sample participated in a follow-up investigation. Then in 2008, data were collected from their children. Here, we present results of the 2008 investigation by describing the developmental outcomes of 14 “at risk” youth—those born to Navajo Native American adolescent mothers. Grounded in Ecological Systems Theory, our primary goal was to identify risk and protective factors across social and physical contexts (e.g., family, peer, school, and reservation community). A supplemental goal was to examine associations among indices of psycho-social well-being (e.g., depression, parental conflict, social support). Results revealed a consistent pattern of youth functioning, which allowed classification of participants into three distinct groups: well-adapted, overcoming, and struggling. Verbal reports and survey indices supported the classifications. Implications and suggestions for continued research are discussed.