Screening for Poly-Victimization in Predicting a Range of Behavioral and Justice-Related Outcomes in Justice-Referred Youths Screened at Intake, Connecticut, 2014-2015 Archival Version


Research over the past decade has identified a sub-group of traumatized youths who have had extensive exposure to multiple types of victimization, interpersonal violence, and loss. These poly-victims are at risk for involvement in delinquency, and if they become involved in juvenile justice they have more severe emotional, behavioral, interpersonal, and school problems than other justice-involved youth (Ford, Grasso, Hawke, and Chapman, 2013). However, there is no validated tool or procedure to screen for poly-victimization with justice-involved youth. This project therefore was designed to test the feasibility of and validate a poly-victimization screen with youth in juvenile detention facilities. The project's specific aims were as follows: Aim 1: To conduct a quasi-experimental study of the effectiveness of poly-victimization enhanced screening (PVES) in increasing the identification of traumatized juvenile justice-involved youth. Aim 2: To test the effectiveness of PVES in reducing subsequent adverse legal outcomes: (a) number and severity of juvenile offenses, (b) extent of justice involvement. Aim 3: To determine if implementation of the PVE results in consistent (replicable) outcomes across two Juvenile Detention Centers.

The overall purpose of this study is to test the utility of mental health screening procedures used by clinical coordinators in every juvenile court in the State of Connecticut to identify youths with poly-victimization histories at probation intake. The goal is to determine if poly-victimization enhanced screening (PVES) improves the (1) identification of, and (3) reduces recidivism by, traumatized youths.

The current project builds on the widespread use of the MAYSI-2 screener (described below) in juvenile justice by adding a brief but comprehensive screener for lifetime exposure to victimization and other potentially traumatic events (PTEs) and PTSD symptoms that has been developed for, and validated with, maltreated youth, the STRESS (Grasso, Felton, and Reid-Quinones, 2015). A quasi-experimental design comparing the screening of youth adjudicated in the juvenile justice system with the MAYSI-2 (screening as usual, SAU) with a poly-victimization enhanced screening (PVE) adding the STRESS, was designed to utilize both retrospective and prospective archival juvenile justice system data as outcomes. STRESS data routinely collected at admission to the two juvenile detention centers in the State of Connecticut were used to identify a poly-victim sub-group in the PVE cohort and sub-groups from two SAU cohorts matched with this poly-victim sub-group on demographics and MAYSI-2 profiles. The PVE cohort data were based on screenings conducted for 4 months immediately after addition of the STRESS to the MAYSI-2 as a standard screening protocol. The SAU cohorts were selected to represent a temporally proximate control group (i.e., the prior 4 month period immediately prior to the PVE time-period) and a seasonal control group (i.e., from the 4-month calendar period exactly one year earlier than the PVE time-frame).

Data were extracted from State juvenile justice records to construct outcome variables representing legal involvement and service referrals in the 12-months before (retrospective) and after (prospective) the detention screening. All personal identifiers were removed by the State agency before data were provided to the project investigators following a protocol approved by the State agency's Internal Research Review Committee and the National Institute of Justice IRB, and that was determined by the project investigator's academic institution (the University of Connecticut Health Center's IRB) to not constitute human subjects research.

Presence of Common Scales: STRESS- Child Version for DSM-V, MAYSI-2

Response Rates: 100% as all youth are screened as part of the intake process.

Datasets:DS1: Dataset

Youth involved with 2 Juvenile Courts through the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) in the state of Connecticut Smallest Geographic Unit: Connecticut Juvenile Courts (2 represented in this sample)

All youth involved with the Juvenile Court System in Connecticut (Court Support Services Division) are screened as part of the intake process- the enhanced screening took place at 2 Connecticut Juvenile Courts (selected by Court Support Services Division) from June 1-September 30, 2015 and were then compared with youth screened as usual, from June 1 to September, 30 2014 and February 1-May 31, 2015, (this screening had already taken place).

Funding institution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2012-IJ-CX-0046).

record abstracts

on-site questionnaire

Metadata Access
Creator Ford, Julian D.
Publisher Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Contributor United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice
Publication Year 2020
Rights Delivery; One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the study documentation to learn more on how to obtain the data.
OpenAccess true
Contact Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Language English
Resource Type Dataset; administrative records data, clinical data
Discipline Social Sciences