Service Usage Typologies in a Clinical Sample of Trauma-Exposed Adolescents: A Latent Class Analysis

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Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study is to describe typologies of service utilization among trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking adolescents and to examine associations between trauma history, trauma-related symptoms, demographics, and service utilization. Method: Latent class analysis was used to derive a service utilization typologies based on 10 service variables using a sample of 3,081 trauma-exposed adolescents ages 12 to 16 from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Dataset. Services used 30 days prior to the initial assessment from 5 sectors were examined (health care, mental health, school, social services, and juvenile justice). Results: A 5-class model was selected based on statistical fit indices and substantive evaluation of classes: (a) High intensity/multisystem, 9.5%; (b) Justice-involved, 7.2%; (c) Low intensity/multisystem, 19.9%; (d) Social service and mental health, 19.9%; and (e) Low service usage/reference, 43.5%. The classes could be differentiated based on cumulative trauma, maltreatment history, PTSD, externalizing and internalizing symptoms, and age, gender, race/ethnicity and place of residence. Conclusions: This study provides new evidence about patterns of service utilization by trauma exposed, treatment seeking adolescents. Most of these adolescents appear to be involved with at least 2 service systems prior to seeking trauma treatment. Higher cumulative exposure to multiple types of trauma was associated with greater service utilization intensity and complexity, but trauma symptomatology was not.

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