When Nowhere is Safe: Impaired Caregiving, Domestic Violence and Community Violence Increase Risk for Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD)
This important study conducted by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola and his colleagues empirically demonstrates that disruption to early attachment relationships-- even in the absence of more overt traumatic experiences such as physical or sexual abuse-- is a primary driver of complex adaptation to trauma. The authors draw on data from a national clinical field trial to reveal that children and adolescents are most susceptible to Developmental Trauma Disorder when they cannot experience safety at home or in their communities. Specifically, impaired caregiving due to parental mental illness, substance abuse or criminal involvement; witnessing family violence; and witnessing community violence emerged as the three strongest predictors of this newly proposed complex trauma diagnosis for children and adolescents. Read the article.