A matched case–control study comparing the health status of youth village alumni in Israel to the general population

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Abstract

Recent studies have noted that disproportionately adults with histories of childhood out-of-home placements, compared to adults without, suffer adulthood psychological and physical problems; however, these findings were based mostly on research investigating adults who were in the US foster care system. Building on this foundation, this study examined adults with histories of living in another type of childhood out-of-home placement, called youth villages, a situation in Israeli society reserved for youths who come from impoverished families with the added challenge of being immigrants, from single-parent families, or having parents who struggle with mental health problems or substance abuse. This study’s aim was to examine the longer term adulthood impact of having lived in youth villages on health status, by making comparisons to the general population using a sample matched by age and gender. Youth villages provided lists of alumni, ages 21–55, and telephone questionnaires were administered from November 2014 to December 2015. The adult youth village alumni (n = 152) were compared to a matched sample of the general population (n = 304) drawn from an existing Israeli nationwide data set. Conditional logistic regression was used to compare the health status of the two groups. Youth village alumni were found to have experienced many of the same adverse childhood events as did graduates from the US foster care system; however, after adjusting for confounders, the health status between the two groups did not differ. This dramatically different finding compared to studies on US foster care graduates suggests that the precursors of out-of-home placement and out-of-home placement itself may not always be devastating experiences with adulthood health repercussions. Future studies are needed to examine the context and process of out-of-home placement including: events preceding placement, context of assigning placement, placement itself, stability of placement, placement’s fit for the youth’s temperament and preparation for exit from the placement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-922
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • adverse childhood events
  • foster care
  • health habits
  • health status
  • out-of-home placement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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