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Successful Adolescence in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya

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Problem Behavior Theory and the Social Context

Abstract

Many adolescents living in contexts characterized by adversity achieve positive outcomes. We adopt a protection-risk conceptual framework to examine resilience (academic achievement, civic participation, and avoidance of risk behaviors) among 1,722 never-married 12–19 year olds living in two Kenyan urban slums. We find stronger associations between explanatory factors and resilience among older (15–19 years) than younger (12–14 years) adolescents. Models for prosocial behavior and models for anti-social behavior emerge as key predictors of resilience. Further accumulation of evidence on risk and protective factors is needed to inform interventions to promote positive outcomes among youth situated in an ecology of adversity.

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Kabiru, C. W., Beguy, D., Ndugwa, R. P., Zulu, E. M., & Jessor, R. (2012). “Making it”: Understanding adolescent resilience in two informal settlements (slums) in Nairobi, Kenya. Child & Youth Services, 33(1), 12–32.

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Acknowledgments

Funding for the Education Research Project (ERP) was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Grant Number 2004-4523). The Transitions to Adulthood study (TTA) was part of a larger project, the Urbanization Poverty and Health Dynamics program , funded by the Wellcome Trust (Grant Number GR 07830 M). Analysis and writing time was supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust (Grant Number GR 07830 M), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Grant Number 2009-4051), and the Rockefeller Foundation (Grant Number 2009-SCG 302). The authors thank colleagues at APHRC for their contributions. We are, of course, immensely grateful to the youth in Korogocho and Viwandani and to the fieldworkers who worked tirelessly to collect these data.

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Correspondence to Richard Jessor .

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Kabiru, C.W., Beguy, D., Ndugwa, R.P., Zulu, E.M., Jessor, R. (2017). Successful Adolescence in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. In: Problem Behavior Theory and the Social Context . Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57885-9_7

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