Brown, D. (2023). Childhood experiences, growing up “in care,” and trust: A quantitative analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2022.106734
Different childhood experiences, including those that involve abuse, violence, and being removed from the home and placed in government care can have lingering effects that last into adulthood. In particular, they can affect the ability to form relationships and trust later in life. This study uses 2014 Canadian General Social Survey data to test whether a history of abuse, violence, and being in care is associated with levels of trust across three relational variables -- trust in family, neighbourhood people, and strangers -- using a series of logistic regression models. Results indicate that levels of trust vary for those with such histories and depend on the relationship in question. Trust is highest for family, then neighbours, then strangers. People who were in care had lower trust in family and strangers, people who experienced physical or sexual abuse had lower trust in family, neighbours, and strangers, and people who witnessed parental violence had lower trust in family and neighbours. In addition, people who identified as Indigenous reported lower trust in family and neighbours than people who did not identify as Indigenous. These findings contribute to knowledge of the long-term effects of abuse, violence, and having been in care, offering practical implications for those working with children, and those working within the child welfare system.