Child Attributions Mediate Relationships Between Violence Exposure and Trauma Symptomology
Keywords:Attributions, trauma, violence, PTSD, child therapy
AbstractViolence and trauma exposure have been increasingly investigated as contributing to a range of negative outcomes in child physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and psychological functioning, particularly among youth who are racial/ethnic minorities. This study presents findings related to children's attributions of their violence and trauma exposure. Attributions are inferences made about the cause of an event, situation, or action, with internal, stable, and global attributions most likely to lead to negative psychological outcomes. Data were drawn from an on-going clinical intervention study with families at risk for child maltreatment and/or neglect residing in a large metropolitan city on the East Coast. Mediation models provide evidence for a mediated relationship between violence exposure and PTSD through child attribution. Children develop their definitions of violence, formulate reasons why the violence occurs, and react to violence based on interpreting and developing cognitive attributions and schema about their experiences with violence in order to adaptively cope.
Abramson, L. Y., Seligman, M. E., & Teasdale, J. D. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 87(1), 49-72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.87.1.49
Alves, G. C., Santos, D. N., Feitosa, C. A., & Barreto, M. L. (2012). Community violence and childhood asthma prevalence in peripheral neighborhoods in Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil. Cadernos de Saude Publica 28(1), 86-94. doi: https://doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2012000100009
American Psychiatric Association [APA]. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/practice-settings/assessment/tools/depression-scale.aspx
Andrews, A. R., Jobe-Shield, L., Lopez, C. M., Metgzer, I. W., de Arellano, M. A., Saunders, B., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2015). Polyvictimization, income, and ethnic differences in trauma-related mental health during adolescence. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50(8), 1223-1234. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-015-1077-3
Belsky, J. (1993). Etiology of child maltreatment: A developmental ecological analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 413-434. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.114.3.413
Briere, J., & Scott, C. ( 2006). Principles of trauma therapy: A guide to symptoms, evaluation, and treatment. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Busby, D. R., Lambert, S. F., & Ialongo, N. S. (2013). Psychological symptoms linking exposure to community violence and academic functioning in African American adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(2), 250-262. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-012-9895-z
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Major findings. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/findings.html
Cohen, J. A., & Mannarino, A. P. (2002). Addressing attributions in treating abused children. Child Maltreatment, 7(1), 82-86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559502007001008
Collins, K. S., Koeske, G. F., Russell, E. B., & Michalopoulos, L. M. (2013). Children's attributions of community violence exposure and trauma symptomology. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 6, 201-216. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/19361521.2013.811458
Collins, K.S., Connors, K., Davis, S., Donohue, A., Gardner, S., Goldblatt, E., Hayward, A., Kiser, L., Strieder, F. Thompson, E. (2010). Understanding the impact of trauma and urban poverty on family systems: Risks, resilience, and interventions. Baltimore, MD: Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center. Retrieved from http://nctsn.org/nccts/nav.do?pid=ctr_rsch_prod_ar
Cyr, K. C., Clement, M. E., & Chamberland, C. (2014). Lifetime prevalence of multiple victimizations and its impact on children's mental health. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(4), 616-634. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260513505220
Deblinger, E., & Runyon, M. K. (2005). Understanding and treating feelings of shame in children who have experienced maltreatment. Child Maltreatment, 10, 364-376. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559505279306
Duvall, J., & Béres, L. (2007). Movement of identities: A map for therapeutic conversations about trauma. In C. Brown & T. Augusta-Scott (Eds.)., Narrative therapy: Making meaning, making lives (pp. 229-250). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452225869.n12
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Hamby, S., & Ormrod, R. (2011). Polyvictimization: Children's exposure to multiple types of violence, crime, and abuse. U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice Bulletin (October 2011). Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/235504.pdf
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., Hamby, S., & Kracke, K. (2009). Children's exposure to violence: A comprehensive national survey. U.S. Department of Justice Juvenile Justice Bulletin (October 2009). Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/227744.pdf
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Shattuck, A., Hamby, S., & Kracke, K. (2015). Children’s exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: An update. U.S. Department of Justice Juvenile Justice Bulletin (September 2015). Retrieved from doi: http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/248547.pdf
Garbarino, J. (1995). The American war zone: what children can tell us about living with violence. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 16(6), 431-435.
Ghosh-Ippen, C., Ford, J., Racusin, R., Acker, M., Bosquet, K., Rogers, C., & Edwards, J. (2002). Trauma events screening inventory-parent report revised. San Francisco: The Child Trauma Research Project of the Early Trauma Network and The National Center for PTSD Dartmouth Child Trauma Research Group.
Gorman-Smith, D., Henry, D. B., & Tolan, P. H. (2004). Exposure to community violence and violence perpetration: The protective effects of family functioning. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(3), 439-449. doi: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3303_2
Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/10628-000
Kelley, H. H. (1973). The processes of causal attribution. American Psychologist, 28(2), 107-128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/h0034225
Kelly, S. (2010). The psychological consequences to adolescents of exposure to gang violence in the community: An integrated review of the literature. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(2), 61-73. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6171.2010.00225.x
Kliewer, W., & Sullivan, T. N. (2008). Community violence exposure, threat appraisal, and adjustment in adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(4), 860-873. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15374410802359718
Knight, L. A., & Sullivan, M. A. (2006). Preliminary development of a measure to assess children's trauma attributions. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 13(2), 65-78. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J146v13n02_05
Mannarino, A. P., Cohen, J. A., & Berman, S. R. (1994). The Children's Attributions and Perceptions Scale: A new measure of sexual abuse-related factors. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 23(2), 204-211. doi: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp2302_9
Mitchell, K. S., Aiello, A. E., Galea, S., Uddin, M., Wildman, D., & Koenen, K. C. (2013). PTSD and obesity in the Detroit neighborhood health study. General Hospital Psychiatry, 35, 671-673. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.07.015
NCTSN Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma Task Force. (2012). The 12 core concepts: Concepts for understanding traumatic stress responses in children and families. Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma. Los Angeles, CA, and Durham, NC: UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.
Ozer, E. J., & Weinsten, R. S. (2004). Urban adolescents’ exposure to community violence: The role of support, school safety, and social constraints in a sample of boys and girls. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(3), 463-476. doi: https://doi.org/10.1207/s15374424jccp3303_4
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(4), 717-731. doi: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03206553
Pynoos, R., Rodriguez, N., Steinberg, A., Stuber, M., & Frederick, C. (1998). The University of California at Los Angeles Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (UCLA-PTSD RI) for DSM-IV. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Trauma Psychiatry Program.
Ruggiero, K. J., Ben, K. D., Scotti, J. R., & Rabalais, A. E. (2003). Psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist—Civilian version. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16(5), 495-502. doi: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025714729117
Salzinger, S., Feldman, R. S., Rosario, M., & Ng-Mak, D. S. (2010). Role of parent and peer relationships and individual characteristics in middle school children's behavioral outcomes in the face of community violence. Journal of Research on Adolescents, 21(2), 395-407. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00677.x
Simpson, R. (1996). Neither clear nor present: The social construction of safety and danger. Sociological Forum, 11(3), 549-562. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02408392
Steinberg, A. M., Brymer, M. J., Kim, S., Briggs, E. C., Ghosh-Ippen, C., Ostrowski, S. A., Gully, K. J., & Pynoos, R. S. (2013). Psychometric properties of the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index: Part 1. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 1-9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.21780
Steinberg, A. M., & Vivrette, R. (2013). UCLA PTSD reaction index administration and scoring. Retrieved from: National Child Traumatic Stress Network http://www.nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/mediasite/ptsd-training.pdf
Sternthal, M. J., Jun, H. J., Earls, F., Wright, R. J. (2010). Community violence and urban childhood asthma: A multilevel analysis. European Respiratory Journal, 36(6), 1400-1409. doi: https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00003010
Weathers, F., Litz, B., Herman, D., Huska, J., & Keane, T. (1993, November). The PTSD Checklist (PCL): Reliability, validity, and diagnostic utility. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Studies, San Antonio, TX.
Wenninger, K., & Ehlers, A. (1998). Dysfunctional cognitions and adult psychological functioning in child sexual abuse survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11(2), 281-300. doi: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024451103931
White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. New York: WW Norton.
Zinzow, H. M., & Jackson, J. L. (2009). Attributions for different types of traumatic events and post-traumatic stress among women. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 18(5), 499-515. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10926770903051025
Copyright to works published in Advances in Social Work is retained by the author(s).