Associations Among Childhood Trauma, Adolescent Problem Behaviors, and Adverse Adult Outcomes in Substance-Abusing Women Offenders


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Abstract

This article explores relationships among exposure to childhood abuse and traumatic events, adolescent conduct problems and substance abuse, and adult psychological distress and criminal behaviors in a sample of substance-abusing women offenders (N = 440). Latent variable structural equation models revealed direct relationships between several childhood traumatic events and greater adolescent conduct problems and substance abuse. Conduct problems predicted more adult criminal behavior, and adolescent substance abuse predicted higher levels of current psychological distress. There were direct relationships between several types of traumatic events and current psychological distress and between traumatic events and specific criminal behaviors. Ethnic differences were also found, suggesting different pathways to criminal behavior. The findings underscore the need to provide trauma-related services for substance-abusing women offenders.

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