Mental health of adolescents in residential care settings

Mental health is a complete state that includes both positive facets, such as well-being, and negative facets, such as psychopathology, which are independent but inter-related (Wang et al., 2011; Westerhof & Keyes, 2010). This symposium aims to share evidence about mental health in residential care by focusing first on psychopathology in therapeutic residential care settings, and then providing a more complete discussion around the conceptualization of mental health, including both well-being and psychopathology. 

The first communication aims to systematize quantitative and qualitative evidence on the factors associated with internalizing and externalizing symptoms in therapeutic residential care. Next, the second communication intends to expand these findings, which were primarily focused on psychopathology, to also include the well-being dimension. This communication will present findings from a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews with adolescents in residential care. Following this evidence, the third communication aims to discuss a dual-factor model applied in residential care, identifying four mental health groups: Complete mental health, Symptomatic but content, Vulnerable, and Troubled. This communication aims to stimulate discussion about the diversity of mental health status, contradicting the assumption of inevitable trauma. In fact, there is evidence of adaptation despite previous trauma. For that reason, the last communication will focus on resilience and specifically on evidence about factors associated with resilient outcomes in residential care.


CIS, ISCTE. Portugal

Eunice Magalhães, PhD, is researcher at CIS-IUL and invited assistant professor at the Master of Community Psychology, Protection of Child and Youth at Risk. Her research interests include victimology, and particularly child protection, foster care and residential care, but also family psychology, psychological assessment and professional competencies.

She has experience in the child protection system for young people at risk, as case worker in a child protection agency.