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, 11 (3), 266-273

Adolescent Clinical Populations and Associations Between Trauma and Behavioral and Emotional Problems

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Adolescent Clinical Populations and Associations Between Trauma and Behavioral and Emotional Problems

Doyanne Darnell et al. Psychol Trauma.

Abstract

Objective: Trauma exposure is common during childhood and adolescence and is associated with youth emotional and behavioral problems. The present study adds to the current literature on trauma exposure among adolescent clinical populations by examining the association between trauma exposure and adolescent self-report of emotional and behavioral problems broadly, including internalizing and externalizing symptoms, in addition to the trauma-specific symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Method: This study included 94 female (64%) and male (36%) adolescents, ages 13-19, representing 4 clinical populations: those seeking inpatient psychiatry, outpatient psychiatry, residential substance abuse, and outpatient medical services. Adolescents self-reported trauma history and internalizing, externalizing, and PTSD symptoms.

Results: Most adolescents reported experiencing at least 1 traumatic event (83%; M = 2.28, SD = 1.83). Multiple regression analyses controlling for age, race/ethnicity, gender, and treatment setting indicated a greater number of types of trauma are associated with externalizing symptoms (β = .31, p < .01) and PTSD symptoms (β = .35, p < .01).

Conclusion: Trauma is a common experience among adolescents, particularly those presenting for behavioral health services, making trauma-informed care essential in these service delivery settings. Treatment that addresses adolescent risk behaviors and prevents recurrent trauma may be particularly important given the negative impact of multiple traumatic events on developing adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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