Priorities for support in mothers of adolescents in residential treatment

Kayla Herbell, Anthony J. Banks, Tina Bloom, Yang Li, Linda F.C. Bullock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Mothers of adolescents in residential treatment (RT) experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence (IPV; emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse by a partner or ex-partner) in the child welfare system. Few studies have investigated the intersection of IPV and parenting in the context of RT. The purpose of this study was to: a) to understand how mothers’ past trauma experiences (i.e. IPV) influence their caregiving, well-being, and relationships with adolescents in RT; b) to explore supportive services mothers need to enhance their well-being before, during, and after their adolescent was in RT. Methods: This cross-sectional study consisted of 15 mothers of adolescents currently or previously in RT. Participants were recruited via Facebook and completed one hour semi-structure interviews over the phone. Data were analyzed by two investigators using content analysis. Results: The following themes emerged from the interviews: “different from the other kids”, “when she goes into a rage her eyes are black…they do remind me of her dad”, and “by supporting the parents, you are supporting the child.”. Women reported stigmatization and disempowerment and coped by compartmentalizing the multiple traumas they sustained from caregiving as well as in their personal lives (i.e., IPV). All women reported that they regularly shared their stories with others in online support groups. Conclusion: Mothers of children in RT are an understudied and underserved population. Supportive, online interventions for this population to share their experiences is critical to maintaining their health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104805
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Intimate partner violence
  • Mental health
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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