Exposure to Economically Abusive Tactics Among Adolescent Girls in the Child Welfare System


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Economically abusive tactics (EAT), including financial exploitation, economic control, and employment sabotage, have been increasingly identified in intimate relationships. Negative outcomes include increased material hardship, increased depression, and co-occurrence with physical and emotional abuse. However, there is no known research on adolescent exposure to EATs, or its relationship with other well-being indicators. This exploratory study examined the extent of witnessing EAT among adolescent girls involved in child welfare, along with relationships between witnessing EAT and exposure to physical violence, risk of mental health challenges, and current financial self-efficacy. Interviews were conducted with 105 girls ages 12–19. Results indicated that nearly half witnessed moderate to high EATs. Rates of EATs were significantly higher among girls who witnessed physical violence. At the bivariate level, witnessing EATs was correlated with increased rates of physical and emotional abuse, physical neglect, and number of types of trauma, as well as higher levels of depression and PTSD and decreased financial self-efficacy. Implications include the need for measurement refinement, screening, prevention, and intervention for child welfare-involved girls, and continued research regarding EAT exposure.

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