“I Want to Leave—Go Far Away—I Don’t Want to Get Stuck on the Res[ervation]”: Developmental Outcomes of Adolescent-Aged Children of Navajo Native American Teen Mothers

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In 1992 and 1995, data were collected from 29 Navajo Reservation teenage mothers. In 2007, 71% (n = 21) of the original sample participated in a follow-up investigation. Then in 2008, data were collected from their children. Here, we present results of the 2008 investigation by describing the developmental outcomes of 14 “at risk” youth—those born to Navajo Native American adolescent mothers. Grounded in Ecological Systems Theory, our primary goal was to identify risk and protective factors across social and physical contexts (e.g., family, peer, school, and reservation community). A supplemental goal was to examine associations among indices of psycho-social well-being (e.g., depression, parental conflict, social support). Results revealed a consistent pattern of youth functioning, which allowed classification of participants into three distinct groups: well-adapted, overcoming, and struggling. Verbal reports and survey indices supported the classifications. Implications and suggestions for continued research are discussed.



  • Adolescent mothers
  • Navajo native americans
  • Navajo reservation
  • Psycho-social well-being
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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