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Title page for ETD etd-09112018-104938

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Henry, Lauren Marie
Author's Email Address lauren.m.henry@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-09112018-104938
Title Threat and Deprivation: Early Adversities as Predictors of Child and Adolescent Internalizing and Externalizing Psychopathology
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce Compas, Ph.D. Committee Member
David Cole, Ph.D. Committee Member
Jon Ebert, Psy.D. Committee Member
Tarah Kuhn, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • ACEs
  • psychopathology
  • childhood and adolescence
Date of Defense 2018-04-17
Availability unrestricted
Background: Early adversity is a risk factor for later psychopathology, but current methods preclude the identification of specific links between types of adversity and internalizing versus externalizing symptoms. The present study provides one of the first empirical tests of the Dimensional Model of Adversity and Psychopathology (DMAP) as a framework to increase specificity in understanding the association of early adversity and psychopathology.

Methods: Sixty-six professionals in psychology rated early adversities categorically as threat or deprivation using online survey software. These ratings were subsequently used to create threat and deprivation composites to represent DMAP. Using archival data from 26,400 children and adolescents in state custody, the cumulative risk model and DMAP were compared as methods for operationalizing early adversity to predict psychopathology in youth.

Results: All four linear regressions were significant, such that both the cumulative risk model and DMAP predicted internalizing and externalizing symptoms. The cumulative risk model masked that the variance in internalizing symptoms accounted for by early adversity was due almost entirely to threat events, and DMAP showed that threat and deprivation events are associated with externalizing symptoms in opposite directions, such that threat events are associated with more, and deprivation events are associated with fewer, externalizing symptoms.

Conclusions: Early adversities are not homogeneous in the risk that they confer for psychopathology, and using DMAP to classify events as threat or deprivation may provide an understanding of early adversity beyond what the cumulative risk model is able to offer.

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