Childhood Trauma and Adolescent Mental Health: A Transdisciplinary Approach for Social Work Research and Practice Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Farrell, Candace
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • This dissertation presents a transdisciplinary model to guide future social work research and practice with childhood trauma and adolescent mental health. The included studies aim to: 1) analyze and describe the transdisciplinary problem of childhood trauma in a vulnerable population 2) research associations between childhood trauma and transdisciplinary adolescent mental health outcomes, and 3) systematically review intervention approaches to a complex adolescent mental health outcome from a transdisciplinary perspective. Comprehensive transdisciplinary theoretical research informs the development of the transdisciplinary model of childhood trauma and adolescent mental health. Epidemiological methods are used to examine trauma prevalence in a sample of adolescent mothers and multivariate regression models are used to analyze trauma subtypes/polytraumatization as risk factors for adolescent perinatal depression. An amended Cochrane Collaboration protocol guides a systematic review of the literature for adolescent complex trauma intervention studies. The first paper confirms childhood trauma an epidemic problem with over 80% of adolescent mothers experiencing trauma, particularly those with perinatal depression. The second paper finds that childhood sexual abuse, childhood loss, and polytraumatization are significant risk factors of adolescent perinatal depression. The final paper finds complex trauma interventions for adolescents limited in number and methodological rigor, and that a trans-diagnostic approach may be helpful to evaluate intervention efficacy in complex populations. The studies presented illustrate the transdisciplinary nature of childhood trauma and adolescent mental health, specifically adolescent perinatal depression and complex trauma. They also demonstrate how transdisciplinary principles can be integrated into the way these problems are conceptualized, measured, interpreted and discussed. This work establishes a foundation for future research on the transdisciplinary model which may eventually help to guide transdisciplinary intervention research on childhood trauma and adolescent mental health.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Rizo, Cynthia
  • Bledsoe, Sarah
  • Guo, Shenyang
  • Howard, Matthew O.
  • Testa, Mark
  • Belger, Aysenil
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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