Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Youth in the child welfare system frequently undergo a variety of adverse experiences, including maltreatment, living in poverty, placement changes, school changes, and relationship disruptions. As a group, these youth exhibit poorer psychosocial functioning (e.g., elevated rates of mental health difficulties, poorer social and academic competence) than their peers, yet there is also evidence that a number of youth in foster care are functioning relatively well and can be perceived as demonstrating resilience. The present study examined self-concept as a mediator of hypothesized associations between social support and four domains of psychosocial functioning: internalizing problems, externalizing problems, social competence, and academic competence. Cross-lagged panel models were tested via structural equation modeling to evaluate the hypothesized mediational models. Results did not support the hypothesized indirect effects of social support on well-being. Future research should continue to examine the influences of risk and protective factors on psychosocial outcomes for youth in the child welfare system.