Typologies of adolescent adjustment
Rowe, Ellen W.
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The current study proposes a set of three meaningful typologies of adolescent adjustment using empirical methods of classification. The data consist of three large, national samples that were analyzed independently. The first sample contains teacher ratings for 809 adolescents, ages 12 to 18, using the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). The second sample consists of 1090 BASC parent ratings of adolescents, ages 12 to 18. Teachers and parents rated students on a 4-point scale ranging from “never” to “almost always” on 138 and 126 items respectively. The final set of data is comprised of BASC self-report ratings from 4448 adolescents, ages 12 to 18. On the self-report forms, adolescents responded True or False to 186 items about their own feelings or behavior. Multistage cluster analytic methods were used with each data set to derive the typologies. Specifically, Ward’s method of cluster analysis was used to identify initial solutions. Initial solutions were refined with an iterative K-means procedure. Based on both empirical and theoretical considerations, six-cluster solutions emerged as the most meaningful solution with both teacher and parent ratings. Both parent and teacher data yielded Well-Adapted/Minimal Problems, Average, General Problems-Severe, Disruptive Behavior Problems, and Internalizing clusters. A Social Skills/Physical Complaints/Worry cluster also appeared with teacher ratings. The sixth cluster with parent ratings was a Well-Adapted cluster. A seven-cluster solution was the most reliable and meaningful solution with self-report data. The seven clusters based on self-report data were labeled Minimal Problems, Average, Internalizing, Attitude toward School and Teachers, External Locus of Control/Attitude toward Teachers, Low Interpersonal Relations/Self-Reliance, and General Problems-Severe. This research builds upon previous research with typologies of child adjustment and provides a basis for considering patterns of adolescent adjustment.