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01-09-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2015

Emotional Distress Dispositions and Crisis Intervention for Children Treated for Mental Illness

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2015
Katharan Cordell, Lonnie Snowden


We studied 1,397 youth undergoing treatment in a multi-program, multiservice agency serving vulnerable youth in both community and residential settings, testing for associations between four indicators of youth’s emotional distress dispositions and the frequency of crisis events demanding a crisis response within the first 6 months of youth’s participation in a treatment program. We addressed individual and program-level research aims employing a two-level hierarchical model considering both individual and program levels of influence. Results indicated the presence of strong associations for youth’s anger control and frustration management issues, a weaker association for anxiety/anxious disposition, and no significant association for irritability/poor self-control problems. Aggregate emotional distress differences for youth in school, probation, wraparound, residential, or community mental health programming contributed little beyond emotional distress differences among individual youth. Consistent with psychological theory, clinically measured emotional distress dispositions prompt significant behavioral disruption for youth in residential placements as well as in community settings, and they can be detected early in treatment for guiding remedial efforts.

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