Contribution of schools to mental health and resilience in recently immigrated youth.

Given the high risk of psychopathology among recently immigrated Central American adolescents, the aim of this study was to examine several putative protective factors: parental attachment, peer attachment, and school engagement. Based on prior research with other immigrant groups, parental and peer attachment were expected to correlate with reduced mental health problems, increased prosocial behavior, and increased resilience. However, the current study sought to add to existing data regarding putative protective factors by testing the incremental contribution of school engagement over and above existing support from parents and peers. The present study included 78 recently immigrated adolescents from Central America who were enrolled at a public high school for recent immigrants. Findings revealed that school engagement made a significant, positive contribution to mental health and resilience for youth above and beyond the effects of parental and peer attachment. Specifically, school engagement (i.e., subscales Behavioral Engagement, Emotional Disaffection, and Active Behavioral Disaffection) uniquely contributed to models predicting externalizing psychopathology, prosocial behavior, and resilience. In sum, the findings of this study preliminarily suggest that fostering school engagement may have protective effects for recently immigrated youth above and beyond traditional (i.e., peer, family) supports. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)