Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trauma-related beliefs and resilience

In the general public, physical abuse is likely to occur twice as often as sexual abuse.

Within the foster care system, however, the rate of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse is higher than that of physical abuse.

While there are no significant differences regarding physical abuse or neglect for boys vs. girls in foster care, studies have demonstrated that girls are at greater risk for sexual abuse within the foster care system.

Girls with a history of sexual abuse:
-Experience twice as many placement changes than girls with no history of sexual abuse
-Are more likely to be housed in a group home or residential placement

Trauma-related beliefs related to sexual abuse:
- Self-blame/stigmatization
- Betrayal
- Powerlessness
- Traumatic sexualization

84 women between the ages of 18 - 25 years old participated in a study supported by the Orphan Foundation of America.

65% of participants reported a history of sexual abuse.

Where sexual abuse takes place:
1.) Prior to entering foster care
2.) While in foster care (35% of participants)
3.) In both settings (highest rate of self blame/stigmatization)

Tool utilized in study: Trauma-Related Beliefs Scale, which has been shown to be a reliable measure of beliefs for sexual abuse survivors.

Powerlessness was found to make the most significant impact on the resiliency of foster care alumna. Recovery from sexual abuse is aided by having an internal locus of control. (See previous blog entry on attribution theory).

Breno, Anjey and Galupo, M. Paz. Sexual abuse histories of young women in the U.S. child welfare system: A focus on trauma-related beliefs and resilience, Towson University.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Traumatic stress as experienced by children in the child welfare system

Here is a link to the current issue of Focal Point, which focuses on traumatic stress and children within the child welfare system:

Articles include the following:

Traumatic Stress and the Child Welfare System

Walker, J. S., & Weaver, A. This article defines child traumatic stress, describes some events that can cause traumatic stress, and summarizes the effects it has on children, youth, and society.

Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents

Cook, A., et al. This article provides a core background for understanding the psychological and physiological effects of multiple traumatic stress experiences on the developing brain. Steps for assessment and treatment are also discussed.

A Real Mother's Embrace: Reflections on Abuse and Recovery

Weaver, A. The guest editor of this issue of Focal Point gives a poignant first-person account of his childhood abuse and subsequent recovery. A strong theme of Aaron’s story is the enduring support and love offered by his foster family.

Evidence-Based Treatment for Children in Child Welfare

Stambaugh, L., Burns, B. J., Landsverk, J., & Rolls-Reutz, J. This article reviews several treatment programs for children in the child welfare system who have experienced traumatic stress. The article focuses on treatments for which there is the best evidence of effectiveness.

Early Intervention as Prevention: Addressing Trauma in Young Children

Groves, B. This article focuses on the need for early intervention to address child traumatic stress in young children. The article also describes the characteristics of effective intervention.

Adapting Evidence-Based Treatments for Use with American Indian and Native Alaskan Children and Youth

Bigfoot, D. S., & Braden, J. This article describes the adaptation of several evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for child traumatic stress for use in Native American communities. The EBTs that are discussed attend to the broad cultural, historical, and intergenerational traumas that are part of the life experience of many Native American youth.

Creating a Trauma-Informed Child Welfare System

Igelman, R., Conradi, L., & Ryan, B. One role of the child welfare system is to remove children from abusive or neglectful home environments. However, the system itself can be a source of trauma. This article provides steps for reducing trauma within the child welfare system.

Child Trauma: The Role of Public Policy

Gerrity, E. This article discusses the impact that federal, state, and local government policies have in promoting increased understanding of and effective response to child traumatic stress. Analysis of current policy issues and areas for improvement is included.