Peer Involvement and Resiliency: Comparing Inner City and Suburban Adolescents

Inner city adolescents are often labeled ‘at-risk’ due to their economic status, school status, family atmosphere, or delinquent behavior. Due to this label, it could be assumed that these adolescents are less resilient. In addition, the protective and risk factors and definitions of resiliency that are found within research often indirectly place inner city adolescents in the less resilient label. The primary purpose of this paper is to challenge what research has stated is needed for resiliency and how resiliency is defined. Adolescent development is reviewed, research on sense of belonging and sense of isolation and inner city neighborhood characteristics (low-SES) and suburban neighborhood characteristics (high-SES) are compared, and an Adlerian interpretation on resiliency and goals of misbehavior is provided. A few key findings are, despite the drastic difference in neighborhood characteristics, both sets of adolescents are displaying similar delinquent behaviors, however inner city adolescent appear to have a more socially interested view of their future compared to suburban adolescents.

Julie Jackson
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