Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


An analysis of outcomes in maltreated youth: The transmission of neighborhood risk through caregiver aggression and depression

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Eric Dubow (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Marie Tisak (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Danielle Kuhl (Other)


Resilience to childhood maltreatment, or the ability of children to make a "good" adjustment despite the odds (Kerig, Ludlow, & Wenar, 2012), has gained widespread attention in the child maltreatment literature. Although individual child and caregiver factors that contribute to the development of resilience have been thoroughly examined, other factors have received less attention in the resilience literature, such as the neighborhood in which the maltreated child resides. The current study used path analysis to examine how neighborhood collective efficacy influences caregiver depression and aggression, which in turn were expected to influence the youth outcomes of internalizing, externalizing, delinquency, substance use, and education/employment over time. The overall proposed model did not provide an adequate fit for the data. However, two sub-models including aggression and depression as the sole mediators provided adequate fit, though the parameter estimates were not significant in these models. Despite this outcome, several interesting findings emerged. Neighborhood collective efficacy at age 12 was not correlated with any youth outcomes at age 18. Finally, caregiver psychological aggression, but not physical aggression, was positively associated with youth outcomes at age 18. Directions for future research and implications for policies are discussed.