The assessment of early trauma exposure on social-emotional health of young children

Christina Campbell, Yvonne Roberts, Frank Synder, Jordan Papp, Michael Strambler, Cindy Crusto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children exposed to traumatic events (e.g., violence in the home, school, community) report more adverse physical and mental health outcomes than children who have not been exposed to trauma. Caregiver reports provide an opportunity for early identification of intervention needs to aid healthy development of children exposed to trauma. The goal of this study was to determine unique social-emotional profiles and examine how traumatic events vary across these developmental profiles among a sample of caregivers who live in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Caregivers (N = 223) provided responses regarding their young children's (aged 3 years through 5 years) social-emotional health. Latent Profile Analysis was used to develop three distinct social-emotional profiles: Typical Social-emotional Health (low-risk), Some Social-emotional Challenges (moderate-risk), and Social-emotional Problems (high-risk). Results revealed that children exposed to increased non-family-based traumatic events had a greater likelihood of being a member of the moderate-risk group, whereas children exposed to increased family-based traumatic events had a greater likelihood of being a member of the high-risk group than of the low-risk group. The high-risk group was more likely to consist of older children and girls as compared to the low-risk group. There were no significant differences across profiles relative to ethnicity, caregiver education, and income. This research may aid in early identification and the distribution of services to youth at risk for trauma exposure and highlight pathways of resiliency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Behavior problems
  • Early childhood
  • Family trauma
  • Family violence
  • Intervention
  • Latent class
  • Social-emotional health
  • Trauma

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