Girls like you, girls like me: an analysis of domestic minor sex trafficking and the development of a risk and resiliency assessment for sexually exploited youth

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Countryman-Roswurm, Karen I.
Meissen, Gregory J.

The goal of this study was to further develop a data-driven, theoretically based, tool that illuminates the risks and resiliencies of young people at-risk of and/or subjugated to domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). The specific aims of the study were to examine and describe the lived experiences of DMST survivors that may act as risk and/or resiliency factors. This was done in an effort to continue the development of the DMST Risk and Resiliency Assessment (DMST-RRA) – an instrument created to assist social service providers in 1) increasing identification of young people at-risk of and/or subjugated to DMST; and 2) providing effective individualized strengths-based prevention and intervention strategies. The aims of this study were accomplished through a mixed methods design that utilized the instrument development and construct validation (IDCV) process. Such process includes 10 cyclical phases and three specific studies. The first study, completed in May of 2006, included an exploratory pre-test post-test design with 23 homeless, runaway, throwaway youth (HRTY) who attended 10 sessions of an interventional psycho-educational therapy group. In this preliminary study phase, risk factors as well as protective factors, which may act to buffer against DMST, were explored. The most recent research included study 2 and 3. The second study included the analysis of data from 258 youths through the preliminary quantitative Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Risk and Resiliency Assessment (DMST-RRA). The third study sought to further the development of the DMST-RRA by qualitatively exploring DMST survivor risk and resiliency factors. This led to the development of a more robust theoretical explanation as to how the lived experiences of DMST victims and survivors may act as risks and/or resiliencies and thus, DMST-RRA revision recommendations. Discussion focuses on data-driven instrument recommendations and implications of research findings including the application of the DMST-RRA.

Table of Content
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology