Type of Document Dissertation Author Jackson, Sherry L. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11192010-131145 Title Trauma Exposure and Subsequent Offending Among First-Time Juvenile Arrestees: An Exploratory Analysis by Race, Sex, and Hispanic Ethnicity Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Social Work, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Martell Teasley Committee Chair Aaron McNeece Committee Member Irene Padavic University Representative Keywords
- abuse and delinquency
- maltreatment and delinquency
- trauma-informed practice
- trauma-informed care
- child trauma
- child abuse
Date of Defense 2010-10-10 Availability unrestricted AbstractContemporary study of trauma is only a few decades old, and a framework for conceptualization and measurement of trauma in children has developed even more recently. One of the most under-studied populations of children with regard to trauma exposure and trauma-related mental health and behavioral problems is delinquent youth. However, understanding and addressing trauma promises to add significantly to our understanding of the etiology and treatment of criminal behavior among children.
This dissertation includes a review of the often politically charged history of trauma research and treatment, including a discussion of why the delinquency field has lagged behind other human services disciplines with regard to acknowledging and studying the importance of maltreatment and trauma. The review includes recent research on the pervasive physiological impact of serious and chronic trauma among children, and touches briefly on emerging research regarding the physiological impact of serious and chronic trauma. The review also discusses the emerging model of trauma-informed care, which promises to help create safer institutional environments with improved treatment outcomes.
The analysis utilizes a large statewide dataset that includes first offense and trauma history information for 36,695 youth who were arrested for the first time and assessed using the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) within 48 hours of arrest. From the original pool of 36,695, twelve-month recidivism data are available for 28,442. Research questions include an exploration of the prevalence of various types of trauma indicators including physical abuse, witnessing violence, sexual abuse, and endorsing a history of flashbacks, and trauma for all youth as well as by race, sex, and Hispanic ethnicity among this group of first-time arrested youth. Next, logistic regression analyses are used to determine whether trauma indicators in general and specific types of trauma indicators are predictive of increased risk of offending in general and offending violently in the twelve months subsequent to the first arrest. Next, logistic regression is applied to determine whether the observed relationships between trauma and later offending operate similarly for youth regardless of sex, race, and Hispanic ethnicity while controlling for demographic and prior-offense variables.
Analyses reveal that, according to the PACT assessment, the girls in the study were significantly more likely to endorse each unique trauma indicator as well as trauma in general, however, there were no significant differences in exposure based on race and Hispanic ethnicity. The logistic regression analyses revealed that each unique trauma indicators and trauma in general increase the likelihood of a new charge of any type, as well as a new violent charge. The final set of analyses involved disaggregating by categories of race, sex, and Hispanic ethnicity, and conducting logistic regression analyses for each of the six categories of youth included in the study. This set of analyses revealed some differences between groups with regard to which types of trauma indicators were significantly associated with a subsequent offense or a subsequent violent offense.
This study utilizes a large, statewide dataset to replicate prior findings from smaller-scale studies that have found a higher prevalence of maltreatment and trauma histories among juvenile-justice involved youth. Further, the findings support the notion that trauma histories are associated with increased risk of subsequent juvenile offending and subsequent violent juvenile offending. Additionally, the findings suggest that far more research is needed to determine how sex, race, and ethnicity play a role in how trauma is experienced and how it impacts upon later mental and behavioral health.
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