Date of Award

4-23-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gregory Jurkovic, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Roderick Watts, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Armistead, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examined the extent to which the lifetime traumatic and stressful experiences of incarcerated youths cluster in meaningful and understandable ways. It also evaluated the differential effects of various types of these events on a variety of psychosocial outcomes for this population. The sample consisted of 185 incarcerated male and female adolescents (ages 12-19). Confirmatory factor analysis results suggested that an empirically-derived model based on negative event type (i.e., Community Violence, Interpersonal trauma/stress, and Loss) better predicted how negative life events group together on the Adolescent Stress and Trauma Exposure Questionnaire -Version 2 (ASTEQ-2) than the model based on a traditional framework of traumatic versus less severe stressful events in this population. Further, the empirically-derived factors varied substantially in their ability to uniquely predict different psychosocial outcomes, assessed with the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSC-C) and the Structured Interview for Disorders of Extreme Stress, Adolescent version (SIDES-A). For example, the Interpersonal trauma/stress factor accounted for substantially more unshared variance than other factors in TSC-C Depression and Posttraumatic stress outcomes, while the Community Violence factor accounted for substantially more unshared variance than other factors in TSC-C Anger and SIDES-A Self-Destructive Behavior outcomes. Results both partially support prior research, while also exposing its limitations with regard to the inappropriate generalization of a culturally bound trauma framework to traditionally marginalized adolescent populations.

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Psychology Commons

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