Influences of Cumulative Risk and Protective Factors on the Adjustment of Adolescents in Military Families

Mallory Lucier-Greer, Amy Laura Arnold, Jay A. Mancini, James L. Ford, Chalandra M. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The accumulation of stressors is adversely related to adolescent well-being. Using the contextual model of family stress and the theory of community action and change, the authors explored normative and context-specific risks factors among adolescents from military families (N=1,036) and the role of relationships (family, informal networks, formal systems) as protective factors. Youth who reported higher levels of cumulative risk experienced more depressive symptoms, lower academic performance, and lower persistence. When accounting for family support and presence of informal networks, depressive symptoms were lower, academic performance was higher, and persistence was higher; participation in formal systems was associated with better academic performance. The influential nature of cumulative risk was mitigated in the presence of meaningful relationships, providing support for empirically grounded leverage points to enhance positive youth development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-377
Number of pages15
JournalFamily relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 National Council on Family Relations.


  • Adolescents
  • Cumulative risk
  • Military
  • Positive youth development
  • Protective factors
  • Social relationships


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