Lanctôt N. (2020). Child maltreatment, maladaptive cognitive schemas, and perceptions of social support among young women care leavers. Child & Family Social Work, 25, 619-627.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the associations between child maltreatment, cognitive schemas of disconnection/rejection reported in emerging adulthood, and social support perceived in emerging adulthood among young women who have exited placements in residential care. The sample is derived from a longitudinal study conducted with 132 young women who had been placed in residential care during adolescence in Montreal (Canada) in 2008–2009. The present study relied solely on the last measurement wave of this study, which was conducted approximately 5 years (2012–2014) after Wave 1. At this time, participants were out of residential care (mean age = 19.4 years). Results showed that the more severe the retrospective accounts of child maltreatment were, the less social support young women perceived as available to them in emerging adulthood. When the tendency to endorse disconnection/rejection schemas is considered, the direct connection between maltreatment and perceived social support disappears, and we instead see an indirect relationship through these schemas. Findings suggest that programs and services must go beyond identifying social‐support networks for young women care leavers. Considerable effort should be devoted to helping these young women develop the skills they need to build and maintain trusting relationships with significant people around them.