Trauma symptoms as factors associated with early motherhood among young women who had contact with child protective services
*Prévost-Lemire M, Paquette G, Lanctôt N. (2021). Trauma symptoms as factors associated with early motherhood among young women who had contact with child protective services. Children and Youth Services Review, 126.
Young women who had contact with child protective services (CPS) are two to three times more likely to become young mothers than their peers in the general population. Adverse life events, such as maltreatment and placement instability, are associated with an increased risk of early motherhood. Adverse events may lead to trauma symptoms, which could contribute to the circumstances that lead young women to become mothers. In this study, we explored the association between trauma symptoms and early motherhood, after controlling for the effects of maltreatment, placement instability, and risky sexual behaviors, among 112 young women who had contact with CPS. The results of a multivariate binary logistic regression analysis showed that symptoms of trauma related to sexual disturbance were associated with an increased risk of early motherhood while anger and suicidality as trauma symptoms were associated with a decrease in this risk. These results suggest that the long-term consequences of adverse events, such as trauma symptoms, should be considered in the study of early motherhood. Furthermore, a trauma-sensitive approach focused on the links between traumatic events and behavioral dysfunction could be helpful in supporting young women who had contact with CPS and are preparing for early motherhood.