A new study from the University of Kansas, featured by AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science), will gather the first large-scale longitudinal data on specific triggers for childhood trauma and how long it takes children to recover, or how well they do.
Yo Jackson, lead researcher for the study, points out that "most studies rely on remembering, thinking back to traumatic events, but this study will be closer to real-time assessment.” Children will be assessed for psychological functioning and exposure to trauma for the first time between the ages of 3 and 5 and then re-assessed at the end of every six-month period for the rest of the study's grant term. Study participants will include "hundreds of children in Kansas City who are clients of social services agencies."
One of the study's main goals is to separate out "the complicated process from [trauma] exposure to outcome, with the goal of formulating evidence-based protocols to help kids achieve better outcomes." As Jackson reflects, "kids exposed to same events react very differently," so determining which event causes a child's response to trauma may help prevent "[aiming] intervention at the wrong things."