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Child and Youth Emotional Trauma: An Explanatory Model of Adverse Outcomes

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Many child and youth clients of legal and mental health professionals have experienced emotional trauma. Indeed, a recent, salient traumatic event often precipitates the initial consultation. In understanding the client's presentation, an emphasis on the effects of the traumatic event may be simplistic, given many individuals have experienced psychosocial adversity for many years and across a range of domains. This article describes a developmental model that summarises and integrates development from infancy to adolescence. Incorporating a review of the trauma literature, the model is applied to the complex field of emotional trauma outcomes. The discussion includes the useful nosology of Type I versus Type II trauma. The developmental model assists in understanding the breadth of possible adverse outcomes in the context of individual resilience and vulnerability factors, and systemic issues such as the role of parenting, enduring biological factors, family and community resources and wider social issues.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Director, Mater Child and Youth Mental Health Service and Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Queensland, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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