American Psychological Association (APA) Division 37, Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, named Sabrina Liu of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School one of the winners of its 2018 student poster awards. She won for the poster “Patterns of Adversity and Pathways to Health Among Ethnic Minority Youth,” co-authored with GGSE faculty Maryam Kia-Keating and Karen Nylund-Gibson.
Research has demonstrated the negative impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on long-term trajectories of mental and physical health. Yet existing literature on this topic is limited in its understanding of outcomes among youth samples, optimal measurement items and methods, and differences in adversity experience across race/ethnicity. Liu’s current study used a person-centered approach to measure ACEs and their impact on youth health outcomes across three different racial/ethnic groups from a large national database. Patterns of exposure to adverse experiences among Black, Latinx, and White youth (N = 30,668, ages 12-17) were determined empirically using Latent Class Analysis (LCA). Significant differences in class membership by demographic indicators (age, household income, sex) and concurrent health outcomes were identified. Different models emerged for Black (2 classes), Latinx (3 classes), and White youth (3 classes). Older and lower-income youth were more likely to have experienced adversities, but there were no differences in adversity likelihood by sex. Additionally, racial/ethnic minority youth experienced higher levels of adversity, poverty, and poor health when compared to their White counterparts. Rather than occurring in meaningful clusters, adversity experiences among youth reflected a cumulative risk model whereby classes were defined by the overall intensity of adversity experience (i.e. low, moderate, high). Findings provide greater knowledge regarding the relationship between ACEs and health and future research directions to inform more targeted and culturally-appropriate screening, prevention, and intervention programs.
Sabrina Liu is a doctoral candidate in the UCSB Department of Counseling, Clinical, & School Psychology, with emphases in Clinical Psychology and Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences. Originally from the Boston area, Sabrina graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Clinical Psychology. Before graduate school, Liu worked as a clinical research coordinator for the Harvard Study of Adult Development and interned with Sangath, a community-based mental health research organization in Goa, India. There she assisted on several projects, including integrating mental health services into schools and adapting an intervention for children with autism to the local community. Liu’s research and clinical interests include resilience in youth exposed to adversity, and trauma prevention and intervention in culturally diverse communities. At UCSB, Liu, who is advised by Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating, has engaged in research focused on understanding and addressing the impact of exposure to community violence, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), mass violence, and natural disasters. In 2017, Liu was awarded the UC President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship for her dissertation research, which examines patterns of risk and protective factors for youth of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and how these patterns contribute to health and health disparities.