Measurement Models of Child Maltreatment and Associations With Suicidal Ideation Endorsement by Youth in Foster Care: A Multiverse Analytic Approach

Metzli Augustina Lombera, Amy Dyanna Marshall, Sara Such, Yo Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Youth suicidal ideation is a prevalent experience, particularly among youth exposed to maltreatment, with a variety of indicators such as youth statements of ideation. To better understand suicidal ideation, and the associations with youth mental health outcomes, a fruitful path may be through the study of the dimensions (e.g., severity, frequency) of maltreatment exposure. While there exists extensive work on methods to best operationalize casefile records of maltreatment, such work has not been undertaken for youth self-reports, which are an important indicator of youth functioning following exposure. To address the lack of clarity of how to best operationalize youth self-reports of maltreatment, a multiverse analytic approach was taken to operationalize severity and frequency in a sample of 471 8- to 17-year-old children in foster care. We examined differences across measurement models and the models’ associations with caregiver reports of youth suicidal ideation statements. Results indicate that the operationalizations used to define maltreatment resulted in differing measurement models that further differed in their associations with reports of youth suicidal ideation. This study highlights the importance of how researchers operationalize their data and the role dimensions of maltreatment have in further elucidating differential outcomes for youth exposed to maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild Maltreatment
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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