An Exploration of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Treatment Types, and Strengths in Adolescent Therapeutic Residential Care


Extensive research has documented associations between childhood abuse and neglect and adolescent mental health. This exploratory study adds the examination of differences in types of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction, with a little studied population, those in therapeutic residential care. Also documented were the differences between types of treatment categories per the Youth Comprehensive Risk Assessment (YCRA) and adverse experiences, as well as the adolescent strengths of empowerment and social competence related to adverse childhood experiences in therapeutic residential care.

Data was generated from 139 youth in two adolescent therapeutic residential care centers. The most commonly reported adverse experiences were emotional abuse (79.9%) and physical neglect (76.3%). Those with lower empowerment and social competence had significantly higher ACEs in the areas of abuse, neglect, and total ACEs. Youth categorized as high risk to others but not to self, had significantly fewer adverse childhood experiences than others. Study findings support broadening the current discourse on types of adverse events and challenges when considering pathways toward strength building and treatment type, especially related to social competence.

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Correspondence to Kenneth M. Coll.

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Coll, K.M., Day, A., Stewart, R.A. et al. An Exploration of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Treatment Types, and Strengths in Adolescent Therapeutic Residential Care. Int. Journal on Child Malt. (2021).

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  • Child abuse
  • Youth
  • Adolescents