child and parent holding hands

Study: Children with higher self-esteem who ‘age out’ of foster care able to cope with childhood emotional abuse

Children in foster care are in a better position to cope with childhood emotional abuse if they have higher self-esteem, according to a new study by researchers at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
The study, published in the Children and Youth Services Review, analyzed surveys from a national sample of adolescents “aging out” of foster care. The children were surveyed for symptoms of depression.
Findings show that physically neglected adolescents aging out of foster care are at high risk of having depressive symptoms. Those who are emotionally abused, however, had lower self-esteem, which leads to higher depressive symptoms.
“Adolescents in foster care are among the most vulnerable populations,” said Miyoung Yoon, a doctoral candidate at the Mandel School. “And maltreatment is one of the main reasons that children are in foster care in the first place.”
Yoon pointed out that there have been only a handful of studies linking foster care, different types of childhood maltreatment, self-esteem, and depression. More research is needed, she said.
“Adolescents aging out foster care who are emotionally abused need individualized efforts to promote self-esteem, such as counseling or therapy focusing on self-esteem, in order to reduce symptoms of depression” she said.

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