Child Psychopathology and Environmental Influences: Discrete Life Events versus Ongoing Adversity

PETER S. JENSEN, JOHN RICHTERS, TODD USSERY, LINDA BLOEDAU, HARRY DAVIS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patterns of exposure to distinct types of life stressors were compared between 134 children attending a military child psychiatric clinic and a matched military community control sample. Compared with the community sample, clinic-referred children had experienced significantly higher levels of normative stressful events as well as events confounded with their own adjustment and events related to parental psychosocial functioning. Differences in levels of normative stressful events were no longer significant, however, when controlling for events related to parental functioning. Ratings of stressful events during the past year significantly underestimated the lifetime stress exposure differences between clinic and community control children. Although normative stressful events, parent-related events, and parent symptomatology ratings were significantly related to child behavior problem ratings, normative stressful events did not contribute to predictions of child behavior problems beyond the variance attributable to parent-related events and parent symptomatology. Implications of these findings for life stress and child maladjustment research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

Keywords

  • child psychopathology
  • children's symptomatology
  • parental psychopathology
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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