Posttraumatic Symptoms Among Maltreated Youth Using Classification and Regression Tree Analysis.
Ross, Emma H. Kearney, Christopher A.
Published: July 2017
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 69 , p. 177-187
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Individual psychological factors have been shown to exacerbate risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in youth following maltreatment, but the novel contribution of the present study includes a focus on interactive relationships between these factors on specific PTSD symptom clusters. This study identified maltreated youth at highest risk for re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptom clusters via cognitive, affective, and demographic variables. Participants (n = 400) included ethnically diverse maltreated youth. Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis, a form of binary recursive partitioning (BRP), identified subgroups of maltreated youth at highest risk for three core PTSD symptom clusters. Posttraumatic cognitions, anhedonia, negative mood, processing speed, and ethnicity best predicted re-experiencing symptoms. Depersonalization/derealization, verbal comprehension, sexual maltreatment, and age best predicted avoidance symptoms. Negative cognitions about self, IQ, dissociation, working memory, and posttraumatic cognitions best predicted hyperarousal symptoms. Core PTSD symptom clusters may thus be associated with unique collections of risk factors for maltreated youth. Clinical protocols for this population could be recalibrated to be more sensitive to specific profiles that more accurately identify highest risk maltreated youth and better inform evidence-based treatment practices. (Author abstract)
posttraumatic stress disorder; child abuse; psychological characteristics; risk factors