Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 7-2021


Holtz, Sophie, Childhood Trauma and Substance Use: Differences by Race and Sex in Juvenile Justice Prevention Programs in Nebraska. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. July 2021


Copyright Sophie Holtz 2021.


This study seeks to analyze whether demographic factors such as gender and race have a relationship to the reporting of trauma symptoms in juveniles. This study also examines whether higher substance use has a relationship to higher reports of trauma symptoms. To gather this data, surveys were administered to juveniles involved in juvenile justice prevention programs across the state of Nebraska. Overall, we found that juvenile girls reported significantly higher amounts of trauma symptoms than boys do. There was also a significant difference in how much juvenile girls report using cannabis compared to juvenile boys. Furthermore, there was not a significant relationship between substance use and trauma symptoms. Results indicated that White juveniles have the highest rates of alcohol use in the last three months, and that Black juveniles use cannabis at the highest rates in the last three months. These findings will be useful for juvenile justice programs in understanding how prevalent trauma and substance use are. This research can assist both educators and policymakers in determining how best to serve children who have experienced trauma.