Girls in residential care: From child maltreatment to trauma-related symptoms in emerging adulthood

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Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(1): 114-122

The current study examined the association between child maltreatment and trauma-related symptoms in emerging adulthood--over and above the incidence of such symptoms and conduct problems during adolescence--among a sample of female adolescents in residential care. This study used data from a longitudinal study. The sample was composed of 89 adolescent females who were first interviewed at time of admission in a residential center (M(age)=15.33 years, SD=1.31) and later in young adulthood (M(age)=19.27, SD=1.55). At time 1, trauma-related symptoms were assessed with the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children and conduct problems with a composite measure. At time 2, child maltreatment was assessed retrospectively with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and trauma-related symptoms were reassessed with the Trauma Symptom Inventory-2. Results indicated that child maltreatment, especially emotional abuse and neglect, was related to anxious arousal, depression, and anger in emerging adulthood. This study showed that females from our sample often reported different types of maltreatment during childhood and that these traumatic experiences were significantly associated with poor adult psychological functioning.

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