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By the time children reach adolescence, most have experienced at least one type of severe adversity and many have been exposed to multiple types. However, whether patterns of adverse childhood experiences are consistent or change across developmental epochs in childhood is not known. Retrospective reports of adverse potentially traumatic childhood experiences in 3 distinct developmental epochs (early childhood, 0- to 5-years-old; middle childhood, 6- to 12-years-old; and adolescence, 13- to 18-years-old) were obtained from adolescents (N = 3485) referred to providers in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) for trauma-focused assessment and treatment. Results from latent class analysis (LCA) revealed increasingly complex patterns of adverse/traumatic experiences in middle childhood and adolescence compared to early childhood. Depending upon the specific developmental epoch assessed, different patterns of adverse/traumatic experiences were associated with gender and with adolescent psychopathology (e.g., internalizing/externalizing behavior problems), and juvenile justice involvement. A multiply exposed subgroup that had severe problems in adolescence was evident in each of the 3 epochs, but their specific types of adverse/traumatic experiences differed depending upon the developmental epoch. Implications for research and clinical practice are identified.
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- Developmental Patterns of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Current Symptoms and Impairment in Youth Referred For Trauma-Specific Services
Damion J. Grasso
Carly B. Dierkhising
Christopher E. Branson
Julian D. Ford
- Springer US