DOI: 10.1177/0044118x241229733 ISSN: 0044-118X

Contributions of Violence Exposure and Traumatic Stress Symptoms to Physical Health Outcomes in Incarcerated Adolescents

Suzanne Perkins, Rebecca M. Ametrano, Marisa Leach, John P. Kobrossi, Joanne Smith-Darden, Sandra A. Graham-Bermann
  • General Social Sciences
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Violence and traumatic stress negatively affect physical health in youth. Incarcerated adolescents have high rates of violence exposure and health problems, however, few studies have examined medical records and violence exposure in this high-risk population. Self-reported violence exposure and symptoms of stress were collected in 115 incarcerated male adolescents. Medical charts were reviewed for the presence of somatic complaints and chronic health conditions. Regression modeling and odds ratios demonstrated that exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV), child abuse, and sexual abuse predicted specific health conditions. The hierarchical regression model established that traumatic stress and a history of sexual abuse predict cumulative health problems. The study demonstrates that early exposure to violence combined with the presence of traumatic stress symptoms increases the risk for later health problems and can be used by healthcare providers to identify youth at increased risk of long-term health outcomes in high-risk populations.

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