Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Chairperson

Angela Clarke, PhD

Committee Member

Stevie Grassetti, PhD

Committee Member

Janet Chang, PhD


Social support is a key protective factor that has not been widely examined among Black youth, and the existing literature on social support typically focuses on general support, with limited emphasis on the content or source of support. The goal of this study is to examine how Black and multiracial adolescents living in multiple risk, urban communities utilize emotional and informational support from parents and friends in response to three different types of stressful situations and to examine how their use of social support is associated with adjustment. The current study utilizes baseline data from participants in an evaluation of an after-school preventive intervention for youth living in multiple-risk, urban communities. Results revealed that the percentage of adolescents seeking emotional support from a friend was significantly greater than those seeking emotional support from a parent, but only in response to peer stress. Furthermore, in response to all three types of stressful situations, adolescents seek emotional support from friends at a rate greater than chance, but this is not the case for parental or informational support. Despite the fact that adolescents appear to seek emotional support from friends more than from parents, findings indicate that emotional support from parents is significantly associated with adolescents’ overall mental health and adjustment. Moreover, adolescents’ efforts to seek emotional support from parents significantly predicted lower psychosocial problems above and beyond the contribution of poverty-related neighborhood stress. Implications for clinical practice and future research with Black and multiracial adolescents in underserved communities are discussed.