Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 81–100 | Cite as

Adjustment of High School Dropouts in Closed Religious Communities

  • Yael Itzhaki
  • Haya Itzhaky
  • Yaacov B. Yablon
Original Paper



While extensive research has been done on high-school dropouts’ adjustment, there is little data on dropouts from closed religious communities.


This study examines the contribution of personal and social resources to the adjustment of high school dropouts in Ultraorthodox Jewish communities in Israel.


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.


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.


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.


High school dropout Religious community Adjustment Personal and social resources 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of Bar-Ilan University’s institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. The study received ethical approval from Bar-Ilan University’s Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.School of EducationBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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