Poly-traumatization and harmful behaviors in a sample of emergency department Psychiatric Intake Response Center youth

Krystel Tossone*, Eric S. Jefferis, Scott F. Grey, Sumru Bilge-Johnson, Madhav P. Bhatta, Patricia Seifert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to examine risk factors for poly-traumatization, and the impact of poly-traumatization on harmful behaviors (suicidal, self-harm, and violent), among a group of pediatric patients presenting at an emergency department's psychiatric intake response center. We employed a retrospective medical chart review in a children's hospital for a 2-year span (. N = 260). The study employed 2 statistical analyses. The first analysis used multinomial logistic regression to model the odds of harmful behaviors comparing increasing numbers of co-occurring traumatization types. The second analysis employed latent class modeling techniques in three ways to (a) define different poly-traumatization populations, (b) examine the relationship between predictors and class assignment, and (c) examine the relationship between class assignment and harmful behavioral outcomes. About 62% of the sample presented with at least 1 traumatization type and about 50% one harmful behavior type. Compared to those with 1, 2, or 3 traumatization types, patients with 4 or more traumatization types have higher odds of harmful behaviors. The latent class analysis revealed 2 populations: High serious victimization and minimal traumatization. History of family mental health issues was the only significant predictor of class membership. Class membership was associated with all of the harmful behavioral outcome categories. These findings support consideration of poly-traumatization as a risk factor for the high occurrence of harmful behaviors in this sample of pediatric psychiatric patients and that history of family mental health issues may contribute to the high co-occurrence of poly-traumatization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Pediatric
  • Poly-victimization
  • Psychiatric emergency services
  • Suicide
  • Traumatization
  • Violence


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