Female youth are a growing population in the juvenile justice system; however, research on female justice-involved youth is lacking relative to male counterparts. As research suggests this population has experienced higher rates of trauma, the purpose of this study was threefold: first, to describe the extent of complex trauma exposure and sequelae, second, to evaluate the utility of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument–Version 2 (MAYSI-2) Trauma Experiences (TE) scale related to complex trauma, and third, to analyze the relationship between complex trauma and comorbid diagnoses of incarcerated adolescent females, using a developmental trauma framework. The present study used archival data from the records of 229 adolescent females, ages 13 to 20, who were remanded to a maximum security juvenile justice facility in Illinois. Scores from the MAYSI-2 TE scale were collected as well as Clinical Needs Assessments that provided demographic information and data regarding trauma exposure and sequelae. A developmental trauma rubric was specifically designed for this study based on the DSM-5 proposed developmental trauma disorder (DTD) diagnosis. Trauma-related data was mapped onto the rubric for the purpose of identifying youth with complex trauma reactions and comparing this data with MAYSI-2 TE scale scores. Exploratory analyses laid a foundation for understanding complex trauma exposure and sequalae among incarcerated female adolescents. As expected, over three fourths of participants were exposed to repeated interpersonal traumas with youth experiencing an average of five different types of trauma exposure. Contrary to the first hypothesis, the MAYSI-2 TE scale was significantly correlated with complex trauma exposure. The second hypothesis was supported, which was contrary to the literature on the subject, and indicated that the MAYSI-2 TE scale scores decrease upon re-assessment after re-admission to the facility. Finally, the third hypothesis revealed nearly universal comorbid diagnoses among the sample (97.4%) and a relationship was found between the proposed developmental trauma disorder diagnosis and diagnoses of personality, bipolar and related, neurodevelopmental, and trauma and stressor related disorders. These results suggest that screening for trauma should be a high priority in juvenile justice settings and that while the MAYSI-2 TE scale score is related to complex trauma exposure, added screening is warranted to identify trauma-related symptoms. Additionally, alternative screening strategies may be useful for those returning to the facility as these youth’s TE scale scores were found to be lower than those initially incarcerated as well as lower than their previous scores. Finally, the field would benefit from the adoption of a complex trauma diagnosis to prevent inadequate and inaccurate diagnoses being given when the etiology of symptoms is trauma-based.
|Commitee:||Perry, Darlene, Wernsman, Jamie|
|School:||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology|
|Department:||Clinical Forensic Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Clinical psychology, Criminology|
|Keywords:||Adolescent female, Complex trauma, Developmental trauma, Juvenile justice, MAYSI-2, Traumatic experiences|
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