To better protect and heal children from trauma and its emotional impact


PARTNERS Clinic: Multi-method measurement of emotion regulation in maltreated teenagers


What is our goal? For traumatized teens, poly-victimization (exposure to multiple types of trauma) is significantly more likely than exposure to only one form of trauma (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2009; Ford, Elhai, Connor, & Frueh, 2010; Gustafsson et al., 2009). That said, we understand much less about how teens (versus children) react to trauma, both in terms of their beliefs and emotions related to the trauma. Dr. Sharma-Patel, Assistant Director of Child HELP Partnership, is overseeing a pilot study assessing the types and expression of traumatized teens’ emotions and beliefs.

The study aims to examine the patterns of cortical reactivity, self-reported emotion regulation skills, and maltreatment-attributions at pre- and post-treatment.

How are we gathering our data? We are assessing teens being referred to the PARTNERS Clinic using the following two methods: (1) self-report surveys and (2) neurobiological indicators, and two reporters: (1) teens and (2) their caregivers.

To measure the neurological indicators, the teens will take part in a social-stressor task, providing salivary samples during the task, for cortisol and immunoglobulin-A (amylase), and complete measures of emotion regulation and maltreatment-specific attributions at pre-treatment. At the completion of treatment, adolescents will again participate in a modified social-stressor task, providing saliva samples, and repeat the relevant measures completed at pre-treatment.