Ambiguous loss, number of foster care placements, child age and child sex as the predictors of the behavior problems and posttraumatic stress symptoms of children in foster care

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2006-12-12

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This study examined four factors that may predict the behavior problems and posttraumatic stress symptomatology of children in foster care: ambiguous loss, number of foster care placements, child age, and child sex. Participants included 74 predominantly African American 6 to 15 year old children in foster care and their foster caregivers. Foster caregivers completed the Child Behavior Checklist and Parent Report of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, and children completed the Psychological Presence Questionnaire. Regression analyses revealed that number of foster placements was a significant predictor of posttraumatic stress, with more placements linked to more stress symptoms. Child age, child sex, and ambiguous loss were not significant predictors of internalizing problems, externalizing problems, or posttraumatic stress symptoms. Implications of the findings for child welfare professionals and policy makers are discussed.

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