Adolescent girls placed in residential care : studying instability throught placement trajectories
*Hébert ST, Lanctôt N. (2016). Adolescent girls placed in residential care : studying instability throught placement trajectories. Revue de Psychoéducation. 45(1): 63-85.
Instability in placement trajectories is generally analyzed using the number of placement disruptions during a limited period of time. To these days, few studies have tried to understand placement instability as a larger phenomenon with multiples characteristics (Usher, Randolph et Gogan, 1999; Wulczyn, Kogan et Harden, 2003). This is precisely the aim of this article : to study placement trajectories as a whole, with their multiple characteristics. Knowing that adolescent girls are at greater risk of instability, the focus will be on this specific population. Based on a sample of 315 adolescents girls placed in Youth and Family Centers, a person-centered approach led to the identification of three placement trajectories using latent class analysis : a stable pattern, a relational instable pattern, and a physical instable pattern. If a large majority of adolescent girls (80,65%) were categorized in the relatively stable pattern, one fifth were categorized into the instable pattern, either in a relational way (13%) or in a physical way (6,37%). This study contributes to the existing literature by conceptualizing instability as not limited to the number of placement disruptions, but rather as a multiform phenomenon linked to multiple placement characteristics. This particular conceptualization of instability guides the discussion on clinical implications, especially relative to the life project.