Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Daniel Whitaker, PhD

Third Advisor

Kelly Kinnish, PhD


Child trauma exposure (CTE) is an important public health concern in the U.S.; more than two-thirds of children report experiencing a traumatic event by the age of 16. CTE may have important acute and long-term physiological, developmental, behavioral, and psychological implications if not addressed. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is the gold standard for treatment of child trauma and is well-supported for resulting in significant decreases in negative mental health outcomes associated with CTE. Despite the efficacy of evidence-based interventions such as TF-CBT, many children do not receive treatment due to a variety of contextual, logistical, and interpersonal barriers. This mixed-methods exploratory study examines possible predictors of enrollment and completion of TF-CBT, specifically parental trauma exposure, at a community organization that serves abused and traumatized children in the metro Atlanta area. Data were collected during individual assessments consisting of a computer survey and semi-structured interview (n=41). Data analysis focused on parental trauma exposure, and qualitative interviews were examined for common themes regarding intentions for their child’s enrollment and completion of services. Results indicated that caregivers of children referred to services had relatively high (56.1%) rates of trauma exposure. Results from logistical regression indicate that parents with a trauma history were 10.5 times more likely to have a child enroll in therapy. These results indicate that parents with personal trauma histories may be more committed to their child receiving services, therefore public health efforts aimed towards educating parents without trauma histories may be beneficial.