The Relationship between Internal and External Resources and Developmental Competencies among Children and Youth in Day/Residential Treatment Care

Laura Venuto, Pace University


This doctoral project examines the relationships between children and adolescents' internal resources (hope, optimism and mastery) and external resources (social support). Additionally, the potential impact they have on children's self-esteem, behavior and academic achievement will be studied. Study participants consisted of 59 students at a residential and day treatment center in New York State, whose average age was 13.15 years. Measures included the Children's Hope Scale (CHS), the Youth-Life Orientation Test (YLOT), the Self-Mastery Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the GLAS Overall Behavior Scale. Additionally, chart review was conducted to gather children's age, gender, time in treatment, history of abuse, ACS involvement and/or foster care, and academic achievement scores on the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-4). It was hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between the internal and external resources. This was partially supported as optimism was statistically significantly and positively correlated with perceived social support from a family member, friend, and significant other as well as with total social support. Also, hope was correlated with friend social support and weakly correlated with total social support. Contrary to our hypotheses, there was no relationship between social support and select child and school factors (history of foster care, ACS involvement, history of abuse, day versus residential treatment) nor between these factors and the internal resources. There was limited support for our hypotheses that both the external resources and internal resources would be positively related to the developmental competencies; it was found that perceived social support from a family member, friend, or significant other as well as total social support were statistically significantly related to self-esteem, but not to behavior or academic achievement. Additionally, hope and optimism were significantly correlated with self-esteem, but mastery was not. None of the internal resources were related to academic achievement or overall behavior. Pearson's product moment correlations and independent t-tests were utilized to analyze these relationships. Additionally, hierarchical multiple regressions were employed to determine the predictive relationships between child and school characteristics, internal and external resources and the developmental competencies. The main predictors of self-esteem were social support from a friend and optimism. Overall, the entire model explained 46% of the variance in self-esteem. None of the factors significantly predicted academic achievement in Math. Mastery was a significant predictor of academic achievement in Reading. Therefore, the results of this project illustrate the importance of social support, particularly in a population of at-risk children, as they are more likely to possess an optimistic perspective if they believe they have even one person to turn to in their lives.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Venuto, Laura, "The Relationship between Internal and External Resources and Developmental Competencies among Children and Youth in Day/Residential Treatment Care" (2011). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3462944.



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