Circle of Care: Extending Beyond Primary Caregivers to Examine Collaborative Caretaking in Adolescent Development

Kathryn L. Margolis, Gregory M. Fosco, Elizabeth A. Stormshak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


In the contemporary family, which is increasingly shaped by multicultural influences, parents rarely are the sole caretakers of their children. To improve understanding of family dynamics, researchers must redefine caregiving networks to include multiple caregivers, such as extended family members. This study explored the influences of caregiving networks on youth depression by examining who youths perceived as caretakers, how many caretakers were in their networks, the youths’ connectedness with adults in their network, and harmony of relationships among adults within the network. Data from an ethnically diverse, urban sample of 180 middle school youths revealed participation of multiple caregivers for all groups, but ethnic differences existed in network composition. These differences in network composition are discussed within a sociocultural context, considering how positive relationships with specific caregivers may buffer future depression. Longitudinal analyses confirmed the importance of positive relationships with caregiving networks for youth of color when predicting future depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1202
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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