Date of Completion

Spring 5-10-2009

Thesis Advisor(s)

Julie Wargo Aikins

Honors Major



Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Other Psychology | Psychiatry and Psychology


There is increasing evidence that childhood victimization and attachment disruptions impact a child’s development. In this study, children and adolescents from an outpatient psychiatric clinic were assessed, measuring history of trauma, history of out-of-home placement, initial diagnoses, and CBCL internalizing and externalizing problem scores. Multiple regression analyses showed that both violent abuse trauma (physical/sexual abuse) and victim trauma (physical abuse/sexual abuse/witnessing domestic violence/witnessing community violence) are prevalent among patients with externalizing severity problems; concluding that diagnosis alone may not account for a history of victimization, but externalizing problem severity does. Overall, the study is consistent with past literature that it is important to acknowledge a child’s history of maltreatment and out-of-home placement when understanding their psychiatric development and diagnosis.