Family context, victimization, and child trauma symptoms: variations in safe, stable, and nurturing relationships during early and middle childhood.

Academic Article


  • Based on a nationally representative sample of 2,017 children age 2-9 years, this study examines variations in "safe, stable, and nurturing" relationships (SSNRs), including several forms of family perpetrated victimization, and documents associations between these factors and child trauma symptoms. Findings show that many children were exposed to multiple forms of victimization within the family (such as physical or sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, child neglect, sibling victimization, and witnessing family violence), as evidenced by substantial intercorrelations among the different forms of victimization. Moreover, victimization exposure was significantly associated with several indices of parental dysfunction, family adversity, residential instability, and problematic parenting practices. Of all SSNR variables considered, emotional abuse and inconsistent or hostile parenting emerged as having the most powerful independent effects on child trauma symptoms. Also, findings supported a cumulative risk model, whereby trauma symptom levels increased with each additional SSNR risk factor to which children were exposed. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Turner, Heather
  • Finkelhor, David
  • Ormrod, Richard
  • Hamby, Sherry
  • Leeb, Rebecca T
  • Mercy, James A
  • Holt, Melissa
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 2012
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims
  • Domestic Violence
  • Emotions
  • Family Health
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 22506523
  • Start Page

  • 209
  • End Page

  • 219
  • Volume

  • 82
  • Issue

  • 2