Adjustment of High School Dropouts in Closed Religious Communities

Yael Itzhaki, Haya Itzhaky, Yaacov B. Yablon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: While extensive research has been done on high-school dropouts’ adjustment, there is little data on dropouts from closed religious communities. Objective: This study examines the contribution of personal and social resources to the adjustment of high school dropouts in Ultraorthodox Jewish communities in Israel. Method: Using a randomized design, the research population included 261 Ultraorthodox Jewish male youths, ages 14–21 (M = 17, SD = 1.71), who were at different stages of the dropout process. Structural equation modeling was used to explore the direct and indirect effects between the various stages of the dropout process, social and personal resources, and adjustment. Results: Students in high school or in a program for high school dropouts showed higher levels of loneliness and lower levels of involvement and representation in the peer group than did dropouts. However, higher levels of personal and social resources were found among students than among dropouts. Furthermore, sense of community was found to be a protective factor for positive adjustment only for students, while for dropouts it seemed to constitute a risk factor. Conclusions: The findings expose the highly complex situation of at-risk youths in the Ultraorthodox Jewish community. Efforts to keep them in the community’s educational frameworks seem to create pressure and put these youths at risk. At the same time, the poor resources of youths who do not stay in the community`s educational frameworks may lower their positive adjustment. Implications for promoting positive adjustment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number1
Early online date8 Sep 2017
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


  • Adjustment
  • High school dropout
  • Personal and social resources
  • Religious community


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