THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA ON ADOLESCENT MOTHERS' PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING, EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY, AND PROGRAM UTLIZATION.
Abstract: Given our limited understanding of the impact of trauma on the
psychological and parental functioning among adolescent mothers, the current study aimed to
address this gap by: 1) exploring the prevalence of trauma exposure among a sample of
adolescent mothers participating in an evaluation of home visiting services; 2)
investigating the rates of PTSD symptomatology among this populat... read moreion; 3) testing the fit of
four alternate and empirically validated models of posttraumatic stress symptomatology; 4)
testing relations between the symptom factors of posttraumatic stress symptomatology and
parental emotional availability; and 5) exploring the relations between posttraumatic
stress symptomatology and a number of program utilization indicators. Due to the high rates
of comorbid depression and PTSD among traumatized populations, mediation analyses between
depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and each of the outcome constructs (parental
emotional availability and program utilization) were also explored. A number of significant
findings emerged. For example, 1) participants reported extensive histories of trauma
exposure; 2) approximately 50% of participants met full or partial PTSD criteria; 3)
alternate factor models of posttraumatic stress symptomatology provided a better fit to the
data than the existing DSM-IV three-factor model; 4) a number of posttraumatic stress
symptom factors predicted parental non-hostility and 5) posttraumatic stress symptom
factors were related to some indicators of program utilization. The findings highlight the
importance of assessing for trauma exposure and PTSD among adolescent mothers participating
in home visiting services. Assessments will allow home visiting programs to provide
necessary referrals to mental health providers that can adequately address the
psychological and emotional needs of these young traumatized mothers.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: M. Ann Easterbrooks.
Committee: Francine Jacobs, Xiaodong Liu, and Ellen DeVoe.
Keywords: Psychology, Public health, and Social work.read less