Adversity profiles among court-involved youth: Translating system data into trauma-responsive programming

Child Abuse Negl. 2020 Jun:104:104465. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104465. Epub 2020 Apr 9.


Background: Court-involved youth have high levels of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which can impact functioning in adolescence and throughout adulthood. Yet there is limited research to help clinicians translate these histories into trauma-responsive programming guidelines.

Objective: This manuscript utilizes data that is routinely collected to inform practitioners about how to utilize trauma histories to inform program and practice decisions.

Methods: This study used administrative data with a diverse sample of medium- to high-risk youth on probation (N = 5,378) to examine how ACE clusters, identified through Latent Class Analysis, evinced differential treatment needs across multiple domains.

Results: Six identified classes - Low All, Parental Incarceration, Parental Health Problems, High Conflict, High Maltreatment, and High All - were assessed for differences in self-regulation, mental health, substance use, academic functioning, family/social resources, and behavioral problems. Classes varied significantly on all assessed domains, indicating differential needs for effective interventions to interrupt negative trajectories.

Conclusions: Utilizing existing data in a real-world setting and addressing challenges and barriers in real-time can help bring research evidence to practice. In addition to juvenile justice settings, we conclude with discussion of ways that allied community based services in schools, youth programming, and family services can benefit from awareness of these youth adversity profiles.

Keywords: Adverse childhood experiences; Juvenile justice; Latent class analysis; Probation; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Performance / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences / psychology*
  • Family Relations / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Latent Class Analysis*
  • Mental Health
  • Parents*
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Problem Behavior / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Routinely Collected Health Data*
  • Self-Control / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Washington / epidemiology