Victimization and Adversity in Child Welfare Involved Youth: The Cumulative Influence on Child and Caregiver Reported Behavioral Health Symptoms.
Exposure to childhood victimization and adversity (CVA) is pervasive for child welfare (CW) involved youth. However, most research with CW samples has focused on types of maltreatment and fails to recognize the additive influence of exposure to CVA beyond maltreatment. A subsample aged 8 to 17 (n = 1,887) was drawn from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) II. CVA included six domains. Behavioral health was assessed using the Child Depression Inventory, Trauma Symptom Checklist, and the internalizing and externalizing subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between the number of CVA reported and the risk of clinical-range behavioral health symptoms. Analyses were adjusted for the cluster-based sampling design and sampling weights were applied to provide nationally representative estimates. More than 60% of the sample experienced three or more CVA domains. The number of CVAs reported was associated with all four behavioral health outcomes (p < .001). Children exposed to five or more domains were more likely to report high depressive symptoms (odds ratio [OR] = 5.0), high trauma symptoms (OR = 7.0), and to have internalizing or externalizing symptoms reported by caregivers (OR = 18.0), as compared with children reporting one or less CVAs. Youth involved with CW are exposed to staggeringly high rates of CVA beyond maltreatment. For children who are already at great risk for behavioral health challenges, research to understand screening and interventions for CVA is needed to inform policy and practice initiatives to prevent and mitigate harm.
Lombardi, BM; Bledsoe, SE; Killian-Farrell, C; Lanier, P; Skinner, A
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