Julie S. McCrae, MA, MSW, and Mimi V. Chapman, PhD, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sharon L. Christ, MS, Odum Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Profile of Children Investigated for Sexual Abuse: Association With Psychopathology Symptoms and Services
Article first published online: 24 MAR 2010
2006 American Orthopsychiatric Association
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume 76, Issue 4, pages 468–481, October 2006
How to Cite
McCrae, J. S., Chapman, M. V. and Christ, S. L. (2006), Profile of Children Investigated for Sexual Abuse: Association With Psychopathology Symptoms and Services. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76: 468–481. doi: 10.1037/0002-94188.8.131.528
This research was supported by a doctoral dissertation fellowship to Julie S. McCrae from the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), Administration on Children and Families (Award 90CA1718/01). The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being is funded under a contract from the Administration on Children and Families, USDHHS. We thank Richard P. Barth and Shenyang Guo for their substantive and analytic contributions to the project.
Points of view or opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of the sponsors.
- Issue published online: 24 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 24 MAR 2010
- Accepted May 5, 2006
- sexual abuse;
- latent profile analysis;
- child welfare services
Sexually abused children may have poor mental health because of their victimization as well as preexisting or co-occurring family problems. However, few studies consider psychopathology in relation to both abuse and other family experiences. This study uses data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to create latent subgroups of 553 children investigated for sexual abuse. The study investigates children's psychological symptoms and child welfare service (CWS) patterns to understand how children's needs relate to mental health services. Analyses were conducted by child age: 3–7, 8–11, and 12–14. Factor mixture modeling and regression analyses were used. Results show meaningful subgroups of children that relate to different symptom patterns. Among 3- to 7-year-olds, behavioral symptoms are associated with caregiver domestic violence and mental illness. Among 8- to 11-year-olds, depressive symptoms are associated with severe abuse and multiple family problems, whereas posttraumatic stress is associated with chronic, unresolved abuse. Although many children received mental health services, services are not well matched to children's needs—the substantiation status of the abuse explains services. Implications for CWS and mental health services are discussed.