The Association between Caregiver Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems and Outcomes for Trauma-Exposed Youth

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Trauma-exposed youth with impaired caregivers (i.e., due to substance use and/or mental health problems) may be at particular risk for negative outcomes. This study utilized data from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set to examine the impact of caregiver impairment on youth outcomes. Trauma-exposed youth with an impaired caregiver due to either: substance use (n = 498), mental health problems (n = 231), or both substance use and mental health problems (n = 305) were compared to youth without a reported impaired caregiver (n = 2282) to determine if impaired caregiver status is independently associated with increased likelihood of negative behavioral and mental health outcomes and service utilization after accounting for demographics and exposure to traumatic events. Youth with impaired caregivers compared to those without were more likely to display PTSD, emotional and behavioral problems, suicidality, self-injury, and substance abuse and had higher rates of service utilization (p < 0.05). Differential patterns were observed based on the type of caregiver impairment. Findings support the importance of family-centered assessment and intervention approaches for youth affected by trauma.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Woods-Jaeger, B; Briggs, EC; Vivrette, RL; Lee, RC; Suarez, L; Belcher, HME

Published Date

  • December 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 447 - 456

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1936-153X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1936-1521

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s40653-019-00251-7

Citation Source

  • Scopus