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Traumatic Childhood Experiences in the 21st Century: Broadening and Building on the ACE Studies With Data From the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 29 Issue: 3 Dated: February 2014 Pages: 536-556
Johanna K. P. Greeson, Ph.D.,; Ernestine C. Briggs, Ph.D.; Christopher M. Layne, Ph.D.; Harolyn M. E. Belcher, M.D.; Sarah A. Ostrowski, Ph.D.; Soeun Kim, Ph.D.; Robert C. Lee, M.S., M.A.; Rebecca L. Vivrette, M.A.; Robert S. Pynoos, M.D.,; John A. Fairbank, Ph.D.
Date Published
February 2014
21 pages

The study objectives were to (a) examine the association between total number of trauma types experienced and child/adolescent behavioral problems and (b) determine whether the number of trauma types experienced predicted youth behavioral problems above and beyond demographic characteristics, using a diverse set of 20 types of trauma.


Data came from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's (NCTSN) Core Data Set (CDS), which includes youth assessed and treated for trauma across the United States. Participants who experienced at least one type of trauma were included in the sample (N = 11,028; age = 11/2-18 years; 52.3 percent girls). Random effects models were used to account for possible intraclass correlations given treatment services were provided at different NCTSN centers. Logistic regression analyses were used to investigate associations among demographic characteristics, trauma, and emotional and behavioral problems as measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Significant dose-response relations were found between total number of trauma types and behavior problems for all CBCL scales, except Sleep, one of the subscales only administered to 11/2- to 5-year-olds. Thus, each additional trauma type endorsed significantly increased the odds for scoring above the clinical threshold. Results provide further evidence of strong associations between diverse traumatic childhood experiences and a diverse range of behavior problems, and underscore the need for a trauma-informed public health and social welfare approach to prevention, risk reduction, and early intervention for traumatized youth. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.