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A latent class analysis of trauma based on a nationally representative sample of US adolescents

McChesney, GC and Adamson, G and Shevlin, M (2015) A latent class analysis of trauma based on a nationally representative sample of US adolescents. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50. ISSN 0933-7954


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Purpose Traumatic events in adolescence rarely occur in isolation. Multiple traumatic experiences are prevalent, diverse and a well-established risk factor for mental health disorders. The aim of this study was to explore and explain the heterogeneity in trauma profiles in a nationally representative sample of US adolescents. Method Using latent class analysis, data on 10,123 adolescents aged between 13 and 18 from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement were examined. In addition, the relationships between the emergent classes and demographic and clinical variables were explored. Results A four-class solution was the best fit of adolescent trauma patterns, with classes labelled as low risk, sexual assault risk, non-sexual risk and high risk. When compared to the low risk class, those in the other classes were significantly more likely not to live with either biological parent, display symptoms indicative of mood and anxiety disorders, and to have higher rates of disorder comorbidity. Conclusions This provides evidence of four distinct groups of adolescents who have experienced a variety of traumas. Evidence demonstrates the increased risk of adolescents with a history of trauma meeting the diagnostic criteria for not only individual disorders but also comorbidity across disorder

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