International Journal of Child and Adolescent Resilience
Revue internationale de la résilience des enfants et des adolescents
Volume 9, Number 1, 2022
Table of contents (13 articles)
Introduction: IJCAR – 2022 Issue
Regular articles / Articles réguliers
Family Victimization Among Canadian Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents and Emerging Adults
Martin Blais, Cameron Coutu, Marie-Aude Boislard, Trevor A. Hart, Mattie Walker, Sylvie Parent and The SWERV Research Team
Objectives: This paper examines family victimization, well-being, and resilience among sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents and emerging adults aged 15 to 29 years.
Methods: Self-reported data were collected online (2019-2020) from 1,971 Canadian SGM youths. We used logistic regression to estimate the odds of: (a) having experienced family victimization over the past 12 months; (b) reporting well-being across the various frequencies of family victimization; and (c) thriving (i.e., flourishing despite having experienced family victimization).
Results: About 36% of participants experienced family victimization within the previous 12 months, with 13% reporting recurrent family victimization. Recurrent victimization was more prevalent among trans and nonbinary youths as compared to cisgender men, and was also more prevalent among socioeconomically disadvantaged participants. Recurrent victimization was significantly associated with higher odds of reporting internalized heterosexism, efforts to conceal gender and sexual orientation, languishing mental health, social anxiety, loneliness, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Thriving participants were less likely to experience activity restrictions or to live with at least one parent, and more likely to score higher on authenticity scales, to report proactive norms against violence within their family, and to have food and economic security.
Conclusion: Despite recent advances in SGM rights and acceptance, SGM youths still face family victimization and compromised well-being.
Implications: These findings underline the importance of screening for family violence among SGM youths, particularly among trans youths and those of lower socioeconomic status. Findings also underline the importance of providing SGM youth both a safe family environment and material security.
The Development of the First Nations Children Wellbeing Measure
Alexandra S. Drawson, Elaine Toombs, Jay Blain, Tina Bobinski, John Dixon, Natalie Paavola and Christopher J. Mushquash
Objectives: The overall goal of this project was to implement a measurement tool intended to assess the wellbeing of First Nations children within the Robinson Superior Treaty Area.
Methods: A community-based participatory research approach was utilized, which included a research advisory composed to employees from the organization that was partnered with. Both interviews and focus groups were held with members of the communities within the Robinson Superior Treaty Area, and the content of these was examined to determine indicators of wellbeing for children in these communities. The indicators that arose from this analysis made up the pilot version of the measure, which was administered to the parents or caregivers of children (n = 91) who were seen through the intake service for the organization. They were also administered the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths measure (Lyons et al., 1999).
Results: A principal components analysis was performed, which yielded three factors: (1) General Wellbeing, (2) Traditional Activities, and (3) Social Engagement.
Discussion: Involvement in traditional activities and engagement in culture were cited as fundamental indicators of wellbeing of First Nations children, which is consistent with the majority of the literature. The instrument that was created and evaluated represents one of few valid tools available to assess this.
Implications: The measure and process of creating this measure contributes to the literature on the significance of traditional activities for the wellbeing of Indigenous people.
Exploring the prospective role of relationships and psychological distress in postpartum risk of intergenerational continuity of child maltreatment
Rachel Langevin, Martine Hébert, Annie Bernier and Jean-Yves Frappier
Objectives: This prospective longitudinal study aimed to explore the role of family relationships (romantic satisfaction and mother-infant bonding) and psychological distress in the associations between four child maltreatment (CM) subtypes (sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neglect) and early child abuse potential in young mothers.
Methods: A sample of 85 pregnant mothers (18-29 years old) was recruited to complete an online survey at Time 1 (T1); 57 mothers participated at T2 (3 months postpartum). The survey documented experiences of CM, prenatal romantic satisfaction, postnatal psychological distress, mother-infant bonding, and child abuse potential using validated questionnaires.
Results: Four sequential mediation models were tested, one for each CM subtype. Results show that a maternal history of CM (all subtypes) was indirectly associated with heightened child abuse potential three months postpartum. All CM subtypes were negatively related to prenatal romantic satisfaction, which was in turn negatively associated with postnatal psychological distress. Postnatal psychological distress was related to lower mother-infant bonding which, in turn, was related to increased child abuse potential. The complete sequential model was significant for physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, while a partial sequence was identified with neglect.
Implications: Our results are consistent with theoretical models and empirical findings demonstrating the importance of relational factors and mental health in the intergenerational continuity of CM. While our findings await replication, they emphasize the need to intervene early - during the perinatal period - on mental health and family relationships to interrupt intergenerational cycles of CM in at-risk families.
Exploring Children’s Experiences Following Sport-Related Concussions: Identifying and Overcoming Emotional Challenges and Adversity Following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Megan E. Mueller, Louis A. Schmidt, Stephanie Wright, Insia Ali Raza, Gabriella Patro, Mehwish Rana and Richard Volpe
Objectives: To gain a better understanding of the emotional and mental experiences of child and adolescent athletes following a sport-related concussion, in order to better support these athletes throughout recovery.
Methods: Adolescents (n=21) ages 15-24 years who self-reported experiencing a sport-related concussion under the age of 18, participated in a retrospective, single group, qualitative analysis based on semi-structured interviews. Thematic Content Analysis was used to identify themes amongst participants’ responses.
Results: The results indicated three overarching domains with underlying themes and subthemes within: (1) Acute Challenges Post-Concussion (i.e., difficulty accepting unknowns, self-image and mattering, school, missing out and isolation, feelings of hopelessness), (2) Coping with Acute Challenges Post-Concussion (i.e., support, previous concussions, prioritizing mental health), and (3) Take-Aways Post-Concussion (i.e., learning about injury, self-growth, long lasting impacts on overall health).
Conclusion: Child and adolescent athletes face numerous emotional challenges post-concussion and following recovery; however, there are many ways in which children are resilient and cope with these challenges.
Implications: It is critical that the knowledge of child and adolescent athletes’ challenges post-concussion, as well as the successful coping mechanisms and protective factors utilized throughout recovery are used to develop better preventative and interventive strategies, in order to support the athletes’ well-being post-concussion.
Increasing Resource Parents’ Access to Training and Data: An Overview of Two Child Welfare Initiatives
Elisa Romano and Lauren Stenason
Objectives: Resource parents are critical to young people’s well-being, resilient functioning, and placement stability. However, child welfare often experiences challenges in retaining resource parents, which may be partially due to the limited availability of in-service resources. We describe two in-service training initiatives for resource parents in Ontario (Canada) that can support their important caregiving work. We also present preliminary mixed-methods findings on training reactions and learning.
Methods: The first study sampled 91 resource parents who completed the Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC) and collected module evaluations as well as post-program satisfaction data. The second study collected post-training evaluations from 26 resource parents who completed training using the Assessment and Action Record (AAR) to better understand youth in-care.
Results: Resource parents responded positively to the RPC content and delivery; they appreciated the online format (due to COVID-19 restrictions). Parents noted it was helpful to learn how trauma shapes young people’s expectations and how thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. For the second study, parents’ overall training rating was positive. They noted it was helpful to learn how different perspectives could be integrated through AAR findings and highlighted the importance of collaboration with child welfare workers. The training initiatives were well-received and attested to resource parents’ motivation to keep improving their parenting practices. Findings indicated gains in knowledge around trauma-informed parenting and indicated the value of data to support young people’s well-being.
Implications: Retention will likely improve when resource parents feel supported and capable of handling young people’s complex needs. To improve outcomes for both youth in-care and resource parents, it seems important to make training and support available on a regular and ongoing basis and in a collaborative way with child welfare partners.
“Maybe We Should Destigmatize It”: Young Adults’ Perceptions about Instruction on Sexual Consent and Sexual Coercion During Adolescence
Monica Summers and Tinneke Van Camp
Objectives: For decades, scholars and sexual health professionals have urged policymakers to improve the efficacy of sex education. Although some progress has been made through the development of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), curricula in the United States remain limited. For instance, healthy sexual encounters require mutual sexual consent, void of sexually coercive behaviours, yet CSE initiatives only recently added instruction on consent and coercion as important parts of sex education curricula. Further, little is known about what youth learn about consent and coercion through family, friends, and media. The purpose of this study, then, was to gain insight into the information young adults received during adolescence about sexual consent and coercion through formal and informal sources, and to seek their perceptions about possible curriculum improvement.
Methods: This study utilized five focus groups to assess 32 college students’ perceptions about their adolescent experiences with instruction on consent and coercion in formal and informal sex education. The mean participant age was 22, and most were women, heterosexual, and Latinx.
Results: The results indicated that these young adults did not learn about sexual consent and coercion while in high school, but believed that these topics should have been addressed. They also believed that formal sex education should move away from abstinence-only or abstinence-forward education, and should not be rooted in fear-mongering. Gender impacted whether and what youth learned about sexual consent from parents and peers. While mothers talked to sons about using contraceptives and also about obtaining consent, they talked to daughters about negative sex outcomes, such as a ruined reputation or early pregnancy. Fathers were less likely to talk to their children about sex, especially daughters. Young men talked to peers about whether they had sex, while young women talked to their friends about the physical experience of having sex.
Implications: Implications support the implementation of sex education in high schools that facilitates not only physically safe, but also emotionally healthy relationships, as well as an urgency for a cultural shift towards the acknowledgment of intimate behaviours as normative processes among adolescents.
Reviews or Theoretical Papers / Recensions ou article théoriques
Victim-to-Victim Intergenerational Cycles of Child Maltreatment: A Systematic Scoping Review of Theoretical Frameworks
Carley Marshall, Rachel Langevin and Sarah Cabecinha-Alati
Objectives: Child maltreatment is a serious problem worldwide associated with numerous developmental and psychological problems that can impede children’s short and long-term functioning. The negative effects of maltreatment may put children on a trajectory where they are likely to experience later abuse and even abuse their own children. While studies have focused primarily on the intergenerational transmission of maltreatment (victim-to-perpetrator cycles), there are studies, albeit fewer, documenting cycles of intergenerational continuity of maltreatment (victim-to-victim cycles; e.g., child sexual abuse). Clear theoretical frameworks are lacking from studies on intergenerational maltreatment. This review aimed to systematically identify theories, theoretical or conceptual frameworks that have been used to explain the victim-to-victim cycles of maltreatment.
Methods: Searches were executed in PsychINFO, Medline, and Scopus. Fifteen papers were included in this review.
Results: The most common theories used to explain the intergenerational continuity of maltreatment victimization were attachment theory and traumatic stress models. Other identified theories include those from social, developmental, and biological domains. Notably, there were only five papers on the intergenerational continuity of child sexual abuse, highlighting a lack of focus on the theoretical explanations of this issue. Based on the findings, a unified model of victim-to-victim cycles of maltreatment is proposed to guide future studies.
Implications: Future research in this area could include testing and comparing theoretical explanations and advancing the current state of the literature by using qualitative and mixed methods.
Research Reactivity and Distress Protocols for Youth Trauma-related Research: A Scoping Review
Angela Wei, Marria Khalid, Erik Ge, Jiyeon Kang, Makaśa Looking Horse and Christine Wekerle
Objective: To explore literature regarding youth with Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), their potential reactivity to research, and research trauma mitigation protocols.
Methods: A systematic scoping review was conducted in APA PsychInfo, CINAHL, Embase, and OVID Medline. 2 reviewers screened each article for 12 eligible studies. Quantitative and qualitative studies measuring maltreatment and trauma research responses were eligible. Youth were defined as individuals aged 10-19.
Results: No study utilized the ACEs questionnaire with research-related stress measures. Among those that included research reactivity measures, various forms of childhood and youth victimization were considered. The majority of participants did not report feeling upset, with many reporting benefits to participation. Information on protocols for managing distress was available for 11 studies, the most common being the provision of a resource helpsheet and/or referral system.
Implications: There is no indication of distress following ACEs-related research, with few studies measuring across the research experience. One study measured follow-up for distress and further action. Additional research may be indicated to assess the effectiveness of these protocols in this population with a follow-up assessment.
Self-Compassion Among Youth with Child Maltreatment Histories and Psychological Distress: A Scoping Review
Nikki Wong, Katherine Kim, Peri (Pei Rui) Ren, Wai Sun Liu, Sehyun Shannon Oh, Noelle Strickland, Sherry H. Stewart and Christine Wekerle
Objective: Focusing on youth (ages 15-24), our scoping review aims to address these questions: (1) What is the relationship between self-compassion (SC) and psychological distress in youths with child maltreatment (CM) histories? and (2) How does this relationship differ across child maltreatment types?
Methods: Eight databases were screened: OVID MEDLINE, OVID PsychInfo, PsycARTICLES, ProQuest Sociological Abstracts, ProQuest ERIC, OVID Embase, CINAHL, and PUBMED. Our search strategy and inclusion/exclusion criteria yielded an initial 4143 studies. With 1365 duplicates removed, 2778 titles and abstracts were screened. 17 studies were included for full-text screening, and seven studies were selected for data extraction and final inclusion.
Results: SC was found to moderate and mediate the relationships between CM and psychological distress. The role of fear of SC was also investigated and found to function as a mediator between CM and PTSD symptom severity. Regarding CM types, emotional abuse was found to significantly predict SC levels in a child welfare population.
Implications: Given the significance of SC and fear of SC in the relationship between CM and psychological distress, implementation of SC into clinical practice should be considered. Recommendations are made to expand research into more diverse populations, such as child welfare and/or Indigenous youth.
Clinical Interventions / Interventions cliniques
Une intervention de groupe brève pour favoriser le bien-être des femmes enceintes pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 et soutenir la résilience des familles
Nicolas Berthelot, Christine Drouin-Maziade, Vanessa Bergeron, Julia Garon-Bissonnette and Thibaut Sériès
Contexte : La pandémie de COVID-19 a été associée à une augmentation de la détresse psychologique chez les femmes enceintes. Le présent article vise à évaluer l’acceptabilité du programme STEP-COVID (Soutenir la Transition et l’Engagement dans la Parentalité dans le contexte de la pandémie de COVID-19), une intervention prénatale de groupe en ligne, en mode synchrone, visant à soutenir le bien-être, la mentalisation et la résilience.
Méthode : Vingt et une femmes enceintes québécoises ont participé au programme et ont complété des mesures des symptômes psychologiques et de la mentalisation avant et après l’intervention ainsi qu’une échelle évaluant leur perception de changements sur des domaines associés à la résilience. Après chaque rencontre, elles ont rempli un questionnaire évaluant leur appréciation du programme.
Résultats : Les 18 participantes (86 %) ayant complété le programme ont rapporté de hauts taux de satisfaction après chacune des rencontres et au terme de l’intervention. Une diminution des symptômes anxio-dépressifs et des symptômes de stress post-traumatiques et une amélioration des fonctions réflexives sont observées entre le début et la fin du programme. Les participantes ont également rapporté des changements positifs sur des sphères de fonctionnement associées à la résilience.
Conclusion : Les résultats soutiennent l’acceptabilité du programme STEP-COVID et suggèrent que l’offre d’une intervention de groupe brève en ligne est appréciée par les participantes, semble favoriser une diminution de la détresse psychologique et une amélioration de la mentalisation et pourrait contribuer à la résilience dans le contexte de la pandémie de COVID-19.
Preventing and Appeasing COVID-19 Vaccine Tension in Schools to Protect the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents in Québec, Canada
Tara Santavicca, Anabelle Vanier-Clément and Cécile Rousseau
Objectives: This article describes an intervention that took place in Québec, Canada, to mitigate COVID-19 vaccine tension in schools, exacerbated by the 12-17 years old vaccination campaign. Building on this initiative, it proposes guiding principles for prevention and intervention in conflict around COVID-19 vaccination in and around schools.
Intervention: Three complementary tools were developed by a community program, CoVivre, in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team, to help practitioners and parents understand vaccine tensions and their impact on youth, and to suggest simple ways to prevent and intervene in vaccine related conflicts.
Recommendations: A thorough research evaluation could not be performed due to the rapid crisis response; however, the tools received positive feedback by practitioners, institutions, and decision makers. Recommendations were structured around the following principles: (a) fostering transparent and nuanced health communications; (b) avoiding confrontation and refusing to escalate while strongly condemning criminal acts; (c) encouraging open dialogue; and (d) preserving relationships.
Implications: Mental health consequences of public health interventions should be considered at inception to avoid collateral damages. Removing children from the heart of societal conflict and maintaining the family-school relationship is crucial to child development. It is imperative to engage interdisciplinary teams to protect youth from societal polarization, and provide an opportunity for growth and resilience. This initiative suggests that more research is needed on the impacts of encouraging an open dialogue around vaccination, and adopting an empathetic approach amongst youth towards others who may not share the same opinion.
Brief Reports / Articles brefs
Physician Perspectives on the Implementation of a Trauma-Informed Care Initiative in the Maternity Care Setting
Karolina Huartson, Todd Hill, Teresa Killam, Martina Kelly and Nicole Racine
Objectives: To explore the barriers and facilitators from the perspective of family physicians on the implementation of a pilot trauma-informed care (TIC) initiative to promote resilience, with particular emphasis on asking about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), in a maternity care clinic.
Methods: Using an exploratory qualitative design, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with family physicians who were practicing in a maternity clinic in a large Canadian city. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were reviewed by three coders and themes were extracted using thematic analysis.
Results: The analysis of 10 interviews yielded six thematic domains. Three domains pertained to perceived barriers to obtaining an ACEs history including: (1) concern about time management, (2) initial lack of physician comfort with TIC, and (3) cultural limitations of using the ACEs questionnaire. Three themes pertained to perceived facilitators of obtaining an ACEs history including: (1) the importance of a physician champion, (2) a supportive and flexible clinic environment, and (3) improved patient-physician relationships.
Implications: In the context of a broader TIC initiative within a maternity care setting, asking patients about ACEs was generally perceived positively by physicians. Ensuring a supportive clinic environment and adequate staff training may be critical factors that contribute to successful implementation. Future research focused on diverse physician experiences in different settings are needed.