To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Heterogeneity in the course of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) following a major life trauma such as childhood sexual abuse (CSA) can be attributed to numerous contextual factors, psychosocial risk, and family/peer support. The present study investigates a comprehensive set of baseline psychosocial risk and protective factors including online behaviors predicting empirically derived PTSS trajectories over time. Females aged 12–16 years (N = 440); 156 with substantiated CSA; 284 matched comparisons with various self-reported potentially traumatic events (PTEs) were assessed at baseline and then annually for 2 subsequent years. Latent growth mixture modeling (LGMM) was used to derive PTSS trajectories, and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) logistic regression was used to investigate psychosocial predictors including online behaviors of trajectories. LGMM revealed four PTSS trajectories: resilient (52.1%), emerging (9.3%), recovering (19.3%), and chronic (19.4%). Of the 23 predictors considered, nine were retained in the LASSO model discriminating resilient versus chronic trajectories including the absence of CSA and other PTEs, low incidences of exposure to sexual content online, minority ethnicity status, and the presence of additional psychosocial protective factors. Results provide insights into possible intervention targets to promote resilience in adolescence following PTEs.
Adolescent pregnancy (AP) is a significant public health issue. Child maltreatment (CM) represents an established risk factor, yet little is known about the explanatory mechanisms linking the phenomena. Informed by developmental theory, this study prospectively tested seven multi-level, indirect pathways that could plausibly explain the relationship between CM and AP: (1) substance use (polysubstance use and frequency); (2) sexual risk behavior; (3) depressive symptoms; (4) posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms; (5) cognitive dysregulation; (6) pregnancy desire and difficulty expectancies; and (7) age at menarche. Data came from a prospective, longitudinal cohort study of 469 ethnically diverse, nulliparous adolescent females, designed to examine the impact of substantiated CM on reproductive outcomes such as pregnancy and childbirth (265 maltreated and 204 demographically matched comparison adolescents). A multiple-mediator structural equation model was conducted to simultaneously test multiple indirect effects while accounting for confounding variables. Maltreatment had an indirect effect on pregnancy via substance use and higher pregnancy desire/lower perceived difficulty. Findings represent a step towards elucidating pathways linking CM with AP. Recommendations are offered to prevent pregnancy by addressing the pregnancy-specific mechanisms that are part of the maltreatment sequelae.
As championed by the work of Ed Zigler, investing in nurturing environments for all children is a chief tenet of primary prevention that will have far-reaching benefits to the health and welfare of all members of society. Children who endure child maltreatment (CM) are among society's most vulnerable. Prospective longitudinal research aimed at a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms linking CM to subsequent adverse health consequences is needed to improve outcomes and to strengthen causal inference. This paper outlines the methods of the Child Health Study (CHS), a large, state-wide longitudinal cohort of recently maltreated and nonmaltreated youth aged 8–13 who will be assessed every 2 years. The CHS is designed to include in-depth assessments of multiple environmental, behavioral, neural, physiological, and molecular mechanisms through which CM may impact a broad spectrum of youth development, including behavioral and physical health outcomes. In addition to describing the conceptual framework and methods underlying the CHS, we provide information on valuable “lessons learned” in the hopes of supporting future research efforts facing similar challenges. The ultimate goal of this research is demonstrating how policies regarding CM impact the well-being, resilience and recovery of survivors and that they are worthy of large public investment.
Child maltreatment is a reliable predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, not all maltreated children develop PTSD symptoms, suggesting that additional mediating variables explain how certain maltreated children develop PTSD symptoms and others do not. The current study tested three potential mediators of the relationship between child maltreatment and subsequent PTSD symptoms: (a) respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity, (b) cortisol reactivity, and (c) experiential avoidance, or the unwillingness to experience painful private events, such as thoughts and memories. Maltreated (n = 51) and nonmaltreated groups (n = 59) completed a stressor paradigm, a measure of experiential avoidance, and a semistructured interview of PTSD symptoms. One year later, participants were readministered the PTSD symptoms interview. Results of a multiple mediator model showed the set of potential mediators mediated the relationship between child maltreatment and subsequent PTSD symptoms. However, experiential avoidance was the only significant, specific indirect effect, demonstrating that maltreated children avoiding painful private events after the abuse were more likely to develop a range of PTSD symptoms 1 year later. These results highlight the importance of experiential avoidance in the development of PTSD symptoms for maltreated children, and implications for secondary prevention and clinical intervention models are discussed.
This is a report on the research design and findings of a 23-year longitudinal study of the impact of intrafamilial sexual abuse on female development. The conceptual framework integrated concepts of psychological adjustment with theory regarding how psychobiological factors might impact development. Participants included 6- to 16-year-old females with substantiated sexual abuse and a demographically similar comparison group. A cross-sequential design was used and six assessments have taken place, with participants at median age 11 at the first assessment and median age 25 at the sixth assessment. Mothers of participants took part in the early assessments and offspring took part at the sixth assessment. Results of many analyses, both within circumscribed developmental stages and across development, indicated that sexually abused females (on average) showed deleterious sequelae across a host of biopsychosocial domains including: earlier onsets of puberty, cognitive deficits, depression, dissociative symptoms, maladaptive sexual development, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal attenuation, asymmetrical stress responses, high rates of obesity, more major illnesses and healthcare utilization, dropping out of high school, persistent posttraumatic stress disorder, self-mutilation, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnoses, physical and sexual revictimization, premature deliveries, teen motherhood, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Offspring born to abused mothers were at increased risk for child maltreatment and overall maldevelopment. There was also a pattern of considerable within group variability. Based on this complex network of findings, implications for optimal treatments are elucidated. Translational aspects of extending observational research into clinical practice are discussed in terms that will likely have a sustained impact on several major public health initiatives.
Inconsistencies exist in literature examining hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity in children and adults who have experienced childhood abuse. Hence, the extent and manner to which childhood abuse may disrupt HPA axis development is largely unknown. To address these inconsistencies, the developmental course of nonstress cortisol in a long-term longitudinal study was assessed at six time points from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood to determine whether childhood abuse results in disrupted cortisol activity. Nonstress, morning cortisol was measured in 84 females with confirmed familial sexual abuse and 89 nonabused, comparison females. Although dynamically controlling for co-occurring depression and anxiety, hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) showed that relative to comparison females, the linear trend for abused females was significantly less steep when cortisol was examined across development from age 6 to age 30, t (1, 180) = −2.55, p < .01, indicating attenuation in cortisol activity starting in adolescence with significantly lower levels of cortisol by early adulthood, F (1, 162) = 4.78, p < .01. As a more direct test of the attenuation hypothesis, supplemental HLM analyses of data arrayed by time since the disclosure of abuse indicated that cortisol activity was initially significantly higher, t (1, 425) = 2.18, p < .05, and slopes were significantly less steep t (1, 205) = −2.66, p < .01, for abused females. These findings demonstrate how the experience of childhood abuse might disrupt the neurobiology of stress, providing some support for the attenuation hypothesis that victims of abuse may experience cortisol hyposecretion subsequent to a period of heightened secretion.
This study examines short- and long-term maladaptive outcomes in a sample of sexually
abused females and a comparison group. The sample consists of intrafamilial sexual abuse victims
ages 6–16 years at entry into the study and a demographically similar comparison group.
The outcomes examined included measures of behavior and psychological problems such as
aggressive behavior, depression, dissociation, and low self-esteem; and measures at two time
points, first at entry into the study (median age 11 years) and approximately 7 years later (median
age 18 years). The specific questions being addressed were (a) whether subgroups or profiles,
based on the specific characteristics of the sexual abuse experienced, can be identified in this
sample of abused females; and (b) whether these profile groups predict different patterns of
adverse short- or long-term outcomes.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.