Complexity of Risk: Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Youth Risk and Insecurity in Postconflict Settings

Laura K. Taylor, Christine E. Merrilees, Dinka Corkalo Biruski, Dean Ajdukovic, E. Mark Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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In settings of intergroup conflict, identifying contextually-relevant risk factors for youth development in an important task. In Vukovar, Croatia, a city devastated during the war in former Yugoslavia, ethno-political tensions remain. The current study utilized a mixed method approach to identify two salient community-level risk factors (ethnic tension and general antisocial behavior) and related emotional insecurity responses (ethnic and non-ethnic insecurity) among youth in Vukovar. In Study 1, focus group discussions (N=66) with mother, fathers, and adolescents 11 to 15-years-old were analyzed using the Constant Comparative Method, revealing two types of risk and insecurity responses. In Study 2, youth (N=227, 58% male, M=15.88 SD=1.12 years old) responded to quantitative scales developed from the focus groups; discriminate validity was demonstrated and path analyses established predictive validity between each type of risk and insecurity. First, community ethnic tension (i.e., threats related to war/ethnic identity) significantly predicted ethnic insecurity for all youth (β=.41, p<.001). Second, experience with community antisocial behavior (i.e., general crime found in any context) predicted non-ethnic community insecurity for girls (β=.32, p<.05), but not for boys. These findings are the first to show multiple forms of emotional insecurity at the community level; implications for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Early online date01 Jan 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 Jan 2017

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