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Examining the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Gender on Trauma-Informed Intervention Outcomes

Abstract

Purpose

The prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their link to negative behavioral and health outcomes is well documented, but very few studies have empirically examined the effect of ACEs on intervention outcomes. There is also emerging evidence of gender differences in vulnerability to developing traumatic symptoms, which relates to intervention outcomes. The current study examined the effects of ACEs and gender on trauma-informed intervention outcomes in a community-based clinical setting.

Methods

The study includes data from children who were treated with trauma-informed intervention services grounded in the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) framework from 2017 to 2019. ACE scores are measured as a total across 10 items and different types, maltreatment versus family dysfunction, at intake. Children’s trauma-related symptoms are assessed at intake and every 90 days under the ARC framework. In order to examine the changes of traumatic symptoms over time, a total of 362 children with three time points are included for the current analyses using Multilevel modeling with SAS PROC MIXED.

Results

The study found that a trauma-informed intervention based on the ARC framework was effective in reducing children’s trauma related symptoms until they experienced 6 or more ACEs. The intervention effect, however, did not hold when children’s ACEs were cumulated to 7 or more. The study also revealed gender differences in intervention outcomes.

Conclusions

The finding has significant implications for early detection and preventative intervention efforts with children’s ACEs before their ACEs further cumulate to a higher number. Gender difference should be considered in intervention planning and monitored during the intervention process.

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Correspondence to Jiyoung K. Tabone MSW, Ph.D..

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Tabone, J.K., Rishel, C.W., Hartnett, H.P. et al. Examining the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Gender on Trauma-Informed Intervention Outcomes. Journ Child Adol Trauma (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-022-00456-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-022-00456-3

Keywords

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Trauma-informed intervention
  • ARC
  • Gender