Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program

Psychology; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Sarah Dunphy-Lelii

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Childhood Development is a trajectory that is subject to many risks and protections, enacted by a host of institutions, systems and actors. High rates of youth incarceration in the U.S. demonstrate one of the ways risk factors in childhood can lead to outcomes that are often very harmful to development beyond childhood. West Virginia has the highest rate of youth incarceration in the U.S. and therefore offers a unique look into what systems are at play when considering vulnerable youth populations. Through Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory I examine the various systems of childhood development and how they interact to affect youth incarceration. In speaking with individuals from West Virginia, and through research into youth incarceration and the risk and protective factors acting on youth in West Virginia specifically, I have found that the change must be enacted at all levels of the Ecological Systems Theory model in order for healthier childhood pathways to emerge. Most crucial in these changes is the strengthening of communication between systems and institutions.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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