Patterns of trauma exposure and symptoms were examined in a sample of 16,212 children in Illinois child welfare. Data were collected on trauma histories, child and caregiver needs and strengths, and analyzed in light of the proposed Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnostic criteria. Youth exposed to both interpersonal violence and attachment-based ("non-violent") traumas within the caregiving system had significantly higher levels of affective/physiological, attentional/behavioral, and self/relational dysregulation in addition to posttraumatic stress symptoms compared to youth with either type of trauma alone or in relation to other trauma experiences. These complexly traumatized children exhibited higher levels of functional impairment and were more likely to have placement disruptions and psychiatric hospitalizations. Findings suggest a developmental trauma framework can more adequately capture the spectrum of needs of these multiply traumatized youth than existing diagnostic formulations. Utilizing this framework for assessment, treatment planning, and intervention can lead to more targeted and effective services for these children.
- Complex trauma
- Developmental trauma disorder
- Posttraumatic stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science