Publications by authors named "Shauna Rienks"

9 Publications

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An exploration of child welfare caseworkers' experience of secondary trauma and strategies for coping.

Authors:
Shauna L Rienks

Child Abuse Negl 2020 12 14;110(Pt 3):104355. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA. Electronic address:

Background: The use of coping strategies can protect against the detrimental effects of many work-related stressors. Given the stressful nature of casework with traumatized children and families, there is a need to better understand how to prevent the experience of secondary trauma.

Objective: The goal of this study is to examine child welfare caseworkers' experience of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and the extent to which coping strategies act as a buffer.

Participants And Setting: This study utilizes both cross-sectional (N = 1968 at baseline) and longitudinal (N = 653 at 3-year follow-up) data from child welfare caseworkers in three states.

Methods: Participants were recruited as part of a larger workforce study and invited to complete an online survey.

Results: Results indicated relatively high levels of secondary trauma, with 29.6 % of caseworkers scoring in the "severe" range. Caseworkers' experience of STS was positively associated with burnout and negatively associated with organizational support and coping. Those who utilized coping strategies reported fewer symptoms of secondary traumatic stress both concurrently and three years later. Of the 15 coping strategies explored, the more proficient copers were most likely to have a clear self-care plan, participate in activities or hobbies, and have a work-to-home transition plan.

Conclusions: Study results point to the importance of developing a self-care plan and having organizational supports that help protect child welfare caseworkers from the negative effects of secondary trauma exposure, both concurrently and over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104355DOI Listing
December 2020

Adverse childhood experiences and their relationship to complex health profiles among child welfare-involved children: A classification and regression tree analysis.

Health Serv Res 2019 08 10;54(4):902-911. Epub 2019 May 10.

Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families, Denver, Colorado.

Objective: To identify the clustering of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that best characterize child welfare-involved children with known complex health concerns.

Data Source: Multi-informant data were obtained from Wave I of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II).

Study Design: This study used a cross-sectional design and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses.

Data Collection: Data were collected from families with children, aged birth to 17, investigated for child maltreatment and their child protective services caseworkers, including demographic characteristics of the children, their histories of adversity, and a wide range of health concerns.

Principal Findings: Results indicate that for children between the ages of six and 17, experiences of physical abuse alone, as well as experiences of physical abuse combined with having a caregiver with mental illness, are most strongly associated with complex health concerns. For children aged 2-5 years, results suggest that caregiver mental illness is a key adverse experience associated with complex health concerns.

Conclusions: Identifying specific combinations of ACEs may be a critical next step for child- and youth-serving agencies to allow providers to better calculate risk of health problems among children exposed to adversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.13166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606552PMC
August 2019

Examining internal and external job resources in child welfare: Protecting against caseworker burnout.

Child Abuse Negl 2018 07 30;81:48-59. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA.

Given intense job demands, it is not surprising that job burnout is a consistent threat to the well-being and retention of the child welfare workforce. Guided by central postulates of the Job Demands and Resources (JD-R) model which suggests that job burnout develops because of experiences of high work demands coupled with low resources in the workplace, we applied a conceptual model of job burnout (client and work related) that accounts for both internal and external resources available to child welfare workers. Findings among child welfare caseworkers from three states (N = 1917) indicate that job demands (stress and time pressure) were positively related to client- and work-related burnout. Additionally, both internal and external resources moderated the relationships between job demands and client- and work-related burnout. Study findings have workforce management implications in the child welfare sector, including the role resources might play in mitigating the negative impact of job demands on burnout in the child welfare workforce.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.04.013DOI Listing
July 2018

The co-occurrence of adverse childhood experiences among children investigated for child maltreatment: A latent class analysis.

Child Abuse Negl 2019 01 22;87:18-27. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, 2155 S. Race St., Denver, CO 80208, USA. Electronic address:

Children investigated for maltreatment are particularly vulnerable to experiencing multiple adversities. Few studies have examined the extent to which experiences of adversity and different types of maltreatment co-occur in this most vulnerable population of children. Understanding the complex nature of childhood adversity may inform the enhanced tailoring of practices to better meet the needs of maltreated children. Using cross-sectional data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II (N=5870), this study employed latent class analysis to identify subgroups of children who had experienced multiple forms of maltreatment and associated adversities among four developmental stages: birth to 23 months (infants), 2-5 (preschool age), 6-10 (school age), and 11-18 years-old (adolescents). Three latent classes were identified for infants, preschool-aged children, and adolescents, and four latent classes were identified for school-aged children. Among infants, the groups were characterized by experiences of (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, and (3) caregiver divorce. For preschool-aged children, the groups included (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, and (3) emotional abuse. Children in the school-age group clustered based on experiencing (1) physical neglect/emotional neglect and abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, (3) emotional abuse, and (4) emotional abuse/caregiver divorce. Finally, adolescents were grouped based on (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/household dysfunction, (2) physical abuse/emotional abuse/household dysfunction, and (3) emotional abuse/caregiver divorce. The results indicate distinct classes of adversity experienced among children investigated for child maltreatment, with both stability across developmental periods and unique age-related vulnerabilities. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.11.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780306PMC
January 2019

Complex health concerns among child welfare populations and the benefit of pediatric medical homes.

Child Abuse Negl 2017 Mar 10;65:212-225. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work, 2148 S. High St. Denver, CO 80208, United States. Electronic address:

Children referred to child welfare have higher-than-average rates of physical, mental, and developmental health conditions, yet coordinating medical care to address their complex needs is challenging. This study investigates complex health characteristics of child welfare-involved children to inform evolving patient-centered medical homes that incorporate multidisciplinary care and social health determinants. Study questions include: (1) To what degree do child welfare-involved children present with complex physical, behavioral, and developmental conditions? (2) How does the clustering of complex health concerns vary according to developmental stage? (3) What demographic factors relate to complex health concerns? Data are from 5873 children (birth to 18) who participated in the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being II. Latent class analyses were conducted for children in four developmental groups (infants, preschool-age, elementary school-age, and adolescents), including up to 11 indicators from standardized health measures. For all developmental groups, the best fitting model indicated a complex health concern class and a class with fewer health concerns. Multivariate logistic regressions revealed that membership in the complex health concerns class was associated with: increased age, poverty, poor caregiver health, out-of-home placement, gender, and race/ethnicity; although some developmental differences in predictors were observed. Results suggest that for younger children, preventive approaches and integration of developmental specialists in primary care is needed, while school-age children and adolescents demonstrate greater need for integrated behavioral health. All developmental groups would benefit from multidisciplinary teams that address complex health issues related to environmental risks common among children involved in child welfare.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.01.021DOI Listing
March 2017

A longitudinal examination of the Adaptation to Poverty-Related Stress Model: predicting child and adolescent adjustment over time.

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 2013 16;42(5):713-25. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

a Department of Psychology , The Pennsylvania State University.

This study tests key tenets of the Adaptation to Poverty-related Stress Model. This model (Wadsworth, Raviv, Santiago, & Etter, 2011 ) builds on Conger and Elder's family stress model by proposing that primary control coping and secondary control coping can help reduce the negative effects of economic strain on parental behaviors central to the family stress model, namely, parental depressive symptoms and parent-child interactions, which together can decrease child internalizing and externalizing problems. Two hundred seventy-five co-parenting couples with children between the ages of 1 and 18 participated in an evaluation of a brief family strengthening intervention, aimed at preventing economic strain's negative cascade of influence on parents, and ultimately their children. The longitudinal path model, analyzed at the couple dyad level with mothers and fathers nested within couple, showed very good fit, and was not moderated by child gender or ethnicity. Analyses revealed direct positive effects of primary control coping and secondary control coping on mothers' and fathers' depressive symptoms. Decreased economic strain predicted more positive father-child interactions, whereas increased secondary control coping predicted less negative mother-child interactions. Positive parent-child interactions, along with decreased parent depression and economic strain, predicted child internalizing and externalizing over the course of 18 months. Multiple-group models analyzed separately by parent gender revealed, however, that child age moderated father effects. Findings provide support for the adaptation to poverty-related stress model and suggest that prevention and clinical interventions for families affected by poverty-related stress may be strengthened by including modules that address economic strain and efficacious strategies for coping with strain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2012.755926DOI Listing
May 2014

Preliminary efficacy of an intervention to reduce psychosocial stress and improve coping in low-income families.

Am J Community Psychol 2011 Dec;48(3-4):257-71

University of Denver, CO, USA.

This article reports pre-post intervention results from a randomized controlled trial evaluating the initial efficacy of a couples-based intervention aimed at teaching skills for coping with stress and improving relationship skills in a sample of 173 ethnically diverse low-income co-resident mothers and fathers who were raising at least one child together. Couples were randomly assigned to one of three interventions or to an assessment-only control condition. The Fatherhood, Relationship, and Marriage Education (FRAME) intervention is a 14-h psychoeducation intervention developed specifically to strengthen the ability of low-income mothers and fathers to reduce conflict, cope with stress, and co-parent effectively. Three versions of FRAME were assessed: a men-only group, a women-only group, and a couple's group. The pre-post intervention analyses revealed reductions in financial stress, disengagement coping, and involuntary disengagement responses, as well as improvements in problem solving. These pre-post changes on stress and coping variables were both statistically significant and reliable as assessed by the Reliable Change Index (Jacobson and Truax 1991). Results were particularly strong for the couples' and women's groups. In addition, positive pre-post changes on stress and coping variables were associated with pre-post reductions on symptoms of depression for participants assigned to an intervention. The results demonstrate that participants in FRAME acquire some of the key skills taught in the intervention, and skills acquisition appears to translate into symptom reduction. In addition, this study highlights the value of an intervention aiming to improve the capacity of parents with economic hardship to cope effectively with stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9384-zDOI Listing
December 2011

Longitudinal associations between sibling relationship quality, parental differential treatment, and children's adjustment.

J Fam Psychol 2005 Dec;19(4):550-9

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, CO 80208, USA.

This study examined associations between changes in sibling relationships and changes in parental differential treatment and corresponding changes in children's adjustment. One hundred thirty-three families were assessed at 3 time points. Parents rated children's externalizing problems, and children reported on sibling relationship quality, parental differential treatment, and depressive symptoms. On average, older siblings were 10, 12, and 16 years old, and younger siblings were 8, 10, and 14 years old at Waves 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Results from hierarchical linear modeling indicated that as sibling relationships improved over time, children's depressive symptoms decreased over time. In addition, as children were less favored over their siblings over time, children's externalizing problems increased over time. Findings highlight the developmental interplay between the sibling context and children's adjustment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.19.4.550DOI Listing
December 2005