The utility of the MMPI-A in identifying trauma symptoms
MetadataShow full item record
A significant amount of youths involved in the juvenile justice system have experienced childhood maltreatment and/or grief and loss and the mental health consequences of such events may have assisted in the development of the mental health and behavioral problems that resulted in juvenile court involvement. As such, the MMPI-A, the most commonly used assessment measure among forensic psychologists working with this population, should be evaluated to determine if it has utility in identifying youths whose mental health and behavioral problems may be related to such traumatic events. This study examined the mental health consequences of childhood traumatic events, specifically types of childhood maltreatment and grief and loss, by the profiles and responses produced on the MMPI-A in a sample of juvenile offenders. Results of the statistical analyses suggest that there are significant differences between the MMPI-A profiles of juvenile offenders with a history of trauma and those without. It was also determined that a scale can be developed that aides in differentiating between the two groups of juvenile offenders. The clinical implications of this study suggest that the mental health reactions of juvenile offenders with a history of trauma are in line with a complex trauma perspective (Cook et al., 2005), as opposed to a posstraumatic stress disorder reaction. The profile and potential scale identified in this study can be utilized in settings where the MMPI-A is administered with juvenile offenders to alert clinicians to a possibility of the adolescent having a history of trauma, particularly childhood maltreatment and/or grief and loss.