Child maltreatment is associated with negative outcomes such as substance use (SU). This study tested relations among maltreatment history, coping behavior, and SU behavior in youth residing in foster care. Participants were 210 youth (Mage = 12.71 years; SD = 2.95) in foster care who completed self-report measures through an audio computer-assisted self-interview program. Using a structural equation modeling framework and latent measurement constructs, positive associations were identified between maltreatment at baseline and coping behavior outcomes as well as SU behavior outcome approximately 4.5 months later. Specifically, greater severity and chronicity of maltreatment was associated with greater SU behavior as well as indirect action, prosocial, and asocial coping behavior. Maltreatment was not significantly related to direct action coping behavior. In moderation tests, only asocial coping provided a significant interaction effect for SU behavior outcomes; SU behavior did not moderate pathways between maltreatment and coping behavior. For youth in foster care, the coping approach may be varied and relate differentially to SU behavior outcomes, with asocial approaches to coping acting as a buffer for the maltreatment/SU relation. Additionally, SU remains an important target for intervention and prevention in youth residing in foster care.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology