Childhood trauma and psychiatric disorders as correlates of school dropout in a national sample of young adults

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Anxiety Disorders; Child; Conduct Disorder; Depressive Disorder; Emigrants and Immigrants; Ethnic Groups; Female; Humans; Internal-External Control; Life Change Events; Male; Mental Disorders; Mental Health Services; Risk Factors; Statistics as Topic; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Student Dropouts; Substance-Related Disorders; United States; Young Adult


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The effect of childhood trauma, psychiatric diagnoses, and mental health services on school dropout among U.S.-born and immigrant youth is examined using data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys, a nationally representative probability sample of African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Asians, Latinos, and non-Latino Whites, including 2,532 young adults, aged 21-29. The dropout prevalence rate was 16% overall, with variation by childhood trauma, childhood psychiatric diagnosis, race/ethnicity, and nativity. Childhood substance and conduct disorders mediated the relation between trauma and school dropout. Likelihood of dropout was decreased for Asians, and increased for African Americans and Latinos, compared to non-Latino Whites as a function of psychiatric disorders and trauma. Timing of U.S. immigration during adolescence increased risk of dropout.

DOI of Published Version



Child Dev. 2011 May-Jun;82(3):982-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01534.x. Epub 2011 Mar 9. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Child development

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID