Friday, January 14, 2011: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Grand Salon I (Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Symposium Organizers: Todd I. Herrenkohl, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Discussants: Emiko Tajima, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
In 2007, CPS investigated over 3 million cases of reported child abuse and neglect (Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, 2009). From these, an estimated 794, 000 children in the U.S. were officially documented as having been maltreated. By most accounts, these figures represent just a fraction of all abuse and neglect cases in a given year, with numerous acts of child maltreatment going unreported to protective service agencies (USDHHS, 2006). Child maltreatment is a risk factor for a range of problems during adolescence and adulthood, including poor mental health, substance use, and crime. Although not all maltreated children suffer long-term consequences, many do. Fortunately, there is also evidence of resilience in some maltreated children. That is, they achieve life successes and avoid engaging in negative behaviors despite being at higher risk for these outcomes than others in the general population. While research on these topics is improving, many studies on child maltreatment consequences and and resilience have notable methodological weaknesses and most rely on cross-sectional designs and narrow sampling approaches. Many experts agree about the need for more longitudinal research to advance life-course perspectives on child adversity (including child maltreatment) and its effects. This symposium will report findings from a prospective longitudinal study on family violence and adversity that began in the 1970s and now spans more than three decades. Presenters will discuss findings of recent analyses focused on the adulthood effects of early child maltreatment, cumulative trauma through adolescence, and developmental pathways of well-being and resilience. Papers cover a range of topics and illustrate analysis methods well-suited to developmental research using repeated measures designs. Findings provide prevention and policy implications of utmost importance to social work practitioners, researchers, and advocates for vulnerable children and families.
Data for the symposium are from the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, a prospective study of children and families that began in the mid-1970s to examine the correlates and consequences of child maltreatment and related forms of adversity. Data from multiple sources were collected at four key developmental points (early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, and, most recently, adulthood). The sample includes of 457 children, now adults, drawn from child welfare agencies and other community settings in eastern Pennsylvania.
* noted as presenting author