Microaggressions and Depression in Justice-Involved Adolescents: Investigating the Impact of Trauma Reactions and Application to Culturally Responsive, Trauma-Informed Programming
The current study used a mediation model to investigate the relationship between microaggressions exposure as a culturally relevant stressor, trauma reactions as a trauma-informed precipitant, and depression as a mental health outcome. This was the first study to test this mediation model in a sample of justice-involved adolescents, and the first study to quantitatively study microaggressions in a sample of detained adolescents. The study was conducted as part of a clinical implementation project designed to make the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) intake processes more culturally responsive and trauma-informed. As such, the study results have practice implications for clinical work in the juvenile justice system. The sample consisted of 82 adolescents of color detained in the Georgia DJJ’s Youth Development Campuses (YDCs). Microaggressions, TEEs, trauma reactions, and depressive symptoms were measured using a combination of self-report measures and clinician-rated interviews. Regression analyses indicated significant associations between microaggressions and trauma reactions (path a), and between trauma reactions and depression (path b), but not between microaggressions and depression (path c1). This pattern of associations does not support the mediation model and might be better explained using a path analysis framework with a larger sample. Lifetime TEEs did not significantly moderate the relationship between microaggressions and trauma reactions, but conditional effects suggested that the moderation effect might become significant for adolescents who endorsed a high number of lifetime TEEs. This study provides some preliminary evidence that microaggressions are clinically relevant to justice-involved samples and that their relationship with depressive symptoms may be more nuanced than in community samples. Trauma reactions appear to be relevant to further conceptualizing this relationship. Future studies should further elucidate the relationship between microaggressions exposure and mental health outcomes, consider the role of juvenile justice staff in exacerbating or ameliorating these relationships, and further identify the most effective methods for screening and assessing these phenomenon in order to promote a more culturally responsive and trauma-informed approach to working with justice-involved adolescents.
Clinical psychology|Developmental psychology|Psychology
Samuels, John Keith, "Microaggressions and Depression in Justice-Involved Adolescents: Investigating the Impact of Trauma Reactions and Application to Culturally Responsive, Trauma-Informed Programming" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28025493.