Victimization and Depression Among Youth With Disabilities in the US Child Welfare System.
Berg, K.L. Shiu, C.S. Msall, M.E. Acharya, Kruti.
Published: March 2015
Child: Care, Health and Development
Vol. 41, No. 6 , p. 989-999
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
AimThis study aimed to examine the prevalence of victimization among a United States-wide cohort of youth with disabilities (YWD) investigated for maltreatment in the child welfare system (CWS) and their correlation with mental health.MethodsData were drawn from baseline interviews in the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national representative survey of youth involved in the CWS. Interviews took place between 2008 and 2009 and included 675 youth, 11–17 years old and residing with biological families across 83 counties nationwide. The sample consisted of 405 females (60.1%) and 270 males (39.9%), mean age = 13.5 years. We identified YWD if they reported one or more physical or neurodevelopmental health condition (n = 247). Reported victimization experiences and Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) scores were analysed using weighted regression analyses.ResultsOne-quarter of YWD in the CWS reported three or more victimizations during the prior year compared with 19% of youth without disabilities. The odds of YWD reporting a one-unit increase in level of victimization was 75% higher (P < 0.05) than youth without disabilities. Prevalence of clinical depression was significantly higher among YWD (14 vs. 5.5%; P < 0.05). Unlike youth without disabilities, the odds of clinical depression were 92% higher for every one-unit increase in victimization among YWD, controlling for covariates (P < 0.05). Of CWS-involved youth who reported three or more victimizations, 24.4% of YWD and 2.2% of non-disabled youth had CDI scores in the clinical range.ConclusionYWDs in the US CWS are at high risk of experiencing victimization and clinical depression. Our findings suggest that health professionals need to screen CWS-involved YWD for multiple forms of victimization, and develop and implement trauma-informed services that target the mental health sequelae that may jeopardize their independence in adulthood. (Author abstract)
children with disabilities; children at risk; predictor variables; risk; evaluation methods; assessment