Childhood maltreatment, posttraumatic stress symptomatology, and adolescent dating violence: Considering the value of adolescent perceptions of abuse and a trauma mediational model Academic Article uri icon

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  • The present study, utilizing both a child protective services and high school sample of midadolescents, examined the issue of self-report of maltreatment as it relates to issues of external validity (i.e., concordance with social worker ratings), reliability (i.e., overlap with an alternate child maltreatment self-report inventory; association of a self-labeling item as “abused” with their subscale item counterparts), and construct validity (i.e., the association of maltreatment with posttraumatic stress symptomatology and dating violence). Relevant theoretical work in attachment, trauma, and relationship violence points to a mediational model, whereby the relationship between childhood maltreatment and adolescent dating violence would be expected to be accounted for by posttraumatic stress symptomatology. In the high school sample, 1329 adolescents and, in the CPS sample, 224 youth on the active caseloads completed comparable questionnaires in the three domains of interest. For females only, results supported a mediational model in the prediction of dating violence in both samples. For males, child maltreatment and trauma symptomatology added unique contributions to predicting dating violence, with no consistent pattern emerging across samples. When considering the issue of self-labeling as abused, CPS females who self-labeled had higher posttraumatic stress symptomatology and dating violence victimization scores than did their nonlabeling, maltreated counterparts for emotional maltreatment. These results point to the need for ongoing work in understanding the process of disclosure and how maltreatment experiences are consciously conceptualized.


  • Wekerle, Christine

publication date

  • December 2001