University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Researchers and youth stakeholders devised a survey on 27 adversities based on youth expertise, clinical practice, and adversity literature. The aim of the study was to understand the prevalence of individual and cumulative adversities, and association of adversities to age, gender, race/ethnicity and academic performance among a community sample of urban high school students. All participants experienced two or more adversities and experienced greater overall adversity than youth in population-based studies. Youth-proposed stressors were among the most prevalent, and females, older youth, and African American youth reported disproportionately greater number of adversities. Specific types of adversities were endorsed differentially based on gender and race/ethnicity. Adversity score and most adversities were not associated with academic performance, with the exception of youth substance abuse and bullying victimization which were respectively positively and negatively correlated. Future research should explore protective factors for academic success despite high adversity, as well as continued integration of youth voice in research.


child adversity; adverse childhood experiences; academic functioning; school performance; community-engaged researc




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