200242 Role of adverse childhood experiences in traumatized youths' behavior problems

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tia Zeno, MPH , Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Patricia Martens, PhD , Family Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD
Ernestine Briggs, PhD , The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC
Harolyn Belcher, MD , Kennedy Krieger Family Center/Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatrics, Kennedy Krieger Insitute, Baltimore, MD
Background: Previous research has shown that adverse childhood experiences (ACE) such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and parental risk factors (mental illness, domestic violence, incarceration, substance abuse) are associated with child behavior problems. Rarely have all of these factors been analyzed simultaneously in child samples. This study examined the associations between these ACEs and childhood behavior problems after several months of child psychotherapy.

Methods: Participants consisted of 7,222 children and adolescents treated by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network sites nationwide. Their average age was 10.0 years (S.D. 4.4 years), 51.2% were female and 62.0% received public medical insurance. Regression analyses were used to examine the associations between CBCL Total, Externalizing, and Internalizing scores after six months of treatment and ACE variables.

Results: Parental Mental Illness was associated with CBCL Total [β= 2.421 (95% CI 0.191, 4.651) p=0.031] and Externalizing [β=2.639 (95% CI 0.465, 4.813) p=0.016] T-scores. Age and CBCL T-scores at admission were also associated with CBCL T-scores six months into treatment; however, insurance status and the remaining ACEs were not associated with CBCL T-scores.

Conclusion: Surprisingly, few ACEs were associated with behavior problems; however, prior research has shown that characteristics of the ACE such as, duration, severity, and relationship to the perpetrator, are associated with child behavior problems but were not measured in this study. Future research should include detailed ACE characteristics including duration and severity, and potential moderating variables such as relationship with a stable caregiver.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the associations between adverse childhood experiences and childhood behavior problems after several months of child psychotherapy.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served an active contributor on the study team that conceived and carried out this research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session V
See more of: Mental Health