A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on Factors Affecting Successful Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Severe Emotional Disturbances.


This study elicited the perspectives of youth, caregivers, service providers and researchers to explore how communities can best support the transition to adulthood for youth ages 16-21 with mental health and functional impairments, who are at risk of disconnecting from health and human services. Framed by Relational Systems Evaluation (RSE) and Positive Youth Development (PYD), our study demonstrates the importance of engagement with youth experts. Group Concept Mapping (GCM), a collaborative multiphase mixed-methods approach, was used as a systematic process for participants to make meaning of qualitative data using multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis (Kane and Trochim in Concept mapping for planning and evaluation, Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, 2007). Across all participant groups, Life Skills were perceived as highly important and highly feasible for a successful transition to adulthood. However, Positive Social Support & Connectedness were viewed as less important and less feasible by all groups. When examined closely, youth perspectives differed from caregiver and provider perspectives in the factors they prioritized and deemed feasible. Our findings have implications for community mental health services and positive youth development program practitioners.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Cox, Milira, Jennifer Brown Urban, Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Rebecca Wells, C Nicole Lawrence and Nadira Kwaja (2022). A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on Factors Affecting Successful Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Severe Emotional Disturbances. Child & adolescent social work journal : C & A. pp. 1–19. 10.1007/s10560-022-00898-6 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26439.

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Nicole Lawrence

Research Scientist, Senior

Dr. Lawrence has a primary focus on designing and conducting community-based research and evaluation studies of programs serving at-risk children and their families across a range of disciplines including early childhood and elementary education, mental health, and social services/child welfare.  Her research interests were established through prior professional experiences in program development and management within non-profit organizations underscoring the needs for, and the challenges associated with, conducting research and evaluation of human services programs in community-based settings. Her work at the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) at Duke University has provided the opportunity to bridge these areas through building partnerships with city, county, state, and non-profit agencies that serve children and families, for the shared purpose of collecting and analyzing data in “real time” to improve practice, enhance outcomes, inform policy, and contribute to the literature. Since joining CCFP in 2006, she had led or co-led 18 studies utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research methods and experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Research Interests:

  • Program Evaluation
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Education
  • Children's Mental Health
  • Ph.D. University of Nebraska, Lincoln - 2009
  • M.P.P.A. California State University, Sacramento - 2001
  • B.A. Sonoma State University - 1994

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