Characteristics of Children and Adolescents Admitted to a Residential Treatment Center

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Residential Treatment


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


Studies of youths in residential treatment that utilize systematic assessments and validated measures are rare. We examined psychopathology, family characteristics, occurrence of physical or sexual abuse, types of aggressive behavior, hyperactive/impulsive behavior, medical and neurological problems, and self-reported drug and alcohol use in 397 youth who were assessed using reliable measures and consecutively treated in a residential treatment center. Results indicate high rates of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, aggressive behavior, and consistent gender differences, with girls having higher levels of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology and aggressive behavior. The sample was characterized by high rates of medical problems including asthma, seizures, and obesity, as well as evidence of extensive family dysfunction, including high rates of parental alcohol use, violence, and physical or sexual abuse. Residential treatment needs to progress beyond the one size fits all approach and develop more specific and empirically proven treatments for the specific needs of this population.

DOI of Published Version



Connor, D. F., Doerfler, L. A., Toscano, P. F., Volungis, A. M., & Steingard, R. J. (2004). Characteristics of children and adolescents admitted to a residential treatment center. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13(4), 497-510. DOI 10.1023/B:JCFS.0000044730.66750.57

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Child and Family Studies