PENELOPE K. TRICKETT, Ph.D., is a professor of social work and psychology, as well as a developmental psychologist whose research, for the last 20 years, has focused on the developmental consequences of child abuse and/or neglect on children and adolescents and on the characteristics of families in which such abuse occurs. She has earned an Independent Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health titled "The Developmental Consequences of Child Abuse and Violence." In addition, Dr. Trickett is conducting two longitudinal studies. One, now in its 15th year, concerns the psychobiological impact of familial sexual abuse on female adolescents and young adults. The second is a study of the impact of neglect, alone or in combination with other forms of maltreatment, on young adolescent development. Dr. Trickett also directs a university-wide interdisciplinary violence research initiative at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Penelope Trickett likens her work as a developmental psychologist to reading a mystery novel—a methodical act of piecing together bits of evidence. But her mysteries are more complicated than a simple whodunit and can take many years of detective work before they begin to unravel. Trickett, a professor of social work and psychology, studies the developmental consequences of abuse on children and adolescents. Her foremost contribution to the field, a longitudinal study on sexually abused girls, is still a work in progress after decades of gathering and interpreting clues.
Along with her studies at Bryn Mawr College, where she cultivated an interest in psychology, three major influences have shaped Trickett’s professional development. First was a postdoctoral position at Yale University studying disadvantaged youth with Edward Zigler, one of the creators of Head Start. In a later position at the National Institute of Mental Health, Trickett gained an understanding of pubertal development. The advent of feminism served as the third influence, giving women the courage to start reporting instances of sexual abuse in their past. Suddenly, it became accepted that family members were capable of sexual abuse. This revelation, coupled with her interest in disadvantaged children and puberty, led Trickett to pursue a new sub-concentration in psychological research: the long-term effects of sexual abuse on young women.
When Trickett began her longitudinal study on sexually abused girls in the early 1990s, she never thought she would still be working on it decades later. The original design sought to assess the psychobiological consequences of intra-familial sexual abuse on a sample of about 80 girls during the course of a decade, but she has received multiple funding extensions. Though the study has resulted in roughly 50 publications, it was only in April 2011—after interviewing and surveying participants and many of their children multiple times during the previous 24 years—that Trickett’s team published a definitive account of the study detailing their findings and offering novel ideas for dealing with this form of sexual trauma. Trickett and her colleagues emphasized the importance of treatment sessions for sexually abused women, citing evidence that trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective in treating posttraumatic stress disorder and other health-related consequences. Moreover, they recommended that treatment continue as children age, as symptoms of psychopathology can take years to manifest and are often missed in observational cross-sectional studies.
Trickett also heads a longitudinal study on childhood neglect and substance abuse, and along with Dr. Jacquelyn McCroskey, leads a research core on child development and children’s services. She regularly involves doctoral students in her research, offering both a window into her specific social work niche and ample research and dissertation opportunities.
Trickett, P.K., Negriff, S., Noll, J.G., Shenk, C.E. & Putnam, F.W. (2010).Associations between nonverbal behaviors and subsequent sexual attitudes and behaviors of sexually abused and comparison girls (15(2)), 180-189.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Susman, E.J., Shenk, C.E. & Putnam, F.W. (2010).Attenuation of cortisol across development for victims of sexual abuse (22), 165-175.
Trickett, P.K., Kwako, L.E., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2010). Childhood sexual abuse and attachment: An intergenerational perspective (15(3)), 407-422.
Trickett, P.K., Gordis, E., Feres, N., Olezeski, C. & Rabkin, A. (2010). Skin conductance reactivity and respiratory sinus arrhythmia among maltreated and comparison youth: Relations with aggressive behavior (35(5)), 547-558.
Kim, M., Sang, K., J, J. & Trickett, P.K. (2010). Child neglect: Definition and identification of adolescents., 34, 647--658.
Mennen, F.E., Brensilver, M. & Trickett, P.K. (2010). Do maltreated children who remain at home function better than those who are placed., 32, 1675--1682.
Trickett, P.K., Mennen, F.E., Kihyun, K. & Sang, J. (2009). Emotional abuse in a sample of multiply-maltreated, urban young adolescents: Issues of definition and identification (33), 27-35.
Trickett, P.K., Barnes, J.E., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2009). Sexual and physical revictimization among victims of severe childhood sexual abuse.(33(7)), 412-420.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2009). The cumulative burden borne by offspring whose mothers were abused as children: Descriptive results from a multigenerational study (24(3)), 424-447.
Trickett, P.K., Gordis, E., Granger, D.A. & Susman, E.J. (2008). Salivary alpha amylase-cortisol asymmetry in maltreated youth (53), 96-103.
Trickett, P.K., Negriff, S. & Fung, M.T. (2008). Self-rated pubertal development, depressive symptoms and delinquency: Measurement issues and moderation by gender and maltreatment (37(6)), 736-746.
Trickett, P.K., Aisenberg, E., Garcia, A., Ayon, C. & Mennen, F. (2008). The co-occurrence of community violence and child maltreatment among racially diverse adolescents: Assessing risk for mental health and behavior problems. Special issue on exposure to violence: A significant issue for children and families (22), 20-31.
Trickett, P.K., Bonanno, G.A., Colak, D.M., Keltner, D., Shiota, M.L., Papa, A., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2007). Context matters: The benefits and costs of expressing positive emotion among survivors of childhood sexual abuse (7(4)), 824-837.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Schulkin, J., Susman, E.J., Breech, L. & Putnam, F.W. (2007). Differential pathways to preterm delivery for sexually abused and comparison women (32(10)), 1-11.
Trickett, P.K., Aisenberg, E., Mennen, F., Saltzman, W. & Zayas, L. (2007).Maternal depression and adolescent behavior problems: An examination of mediation among immigrant Latino mothers and their adolescent children exposed to community violence (22(10), 1227-1249.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Zeller, M.H. & Putnam, F.W. (2007). Obesity risk for female victims of childhood sexual abuse: A prospective study (120(1)), 61-67.
Trickett, P.K., Kim, K., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2007). Psychosocial characteristics on non-offending mothers of sexually abused girls: Findings from a prospective, multigenerational study (12(4)), 338-361.
Trickett, P.K., Kim, K. & Chung, I. (2007). Social support characteristics among mothers with and without childhood sexual abuse trauma (35), 215-237.
Aisenberg, E., Trickett, P.K., Mennen, F.E., Saltzman, W. & Zaya, L. (2007). Maternal depression and adolescent behavior problems: An examination of mediation among immigrant Latino mothers and their adolescent children., 22, 1227--1249.
Mennen, F.E. & Trickett, P.K. (2007). Mental health services to urban minority children., 29, 1220--1234.
Trickett, P.K., Feerick, M., Flanzer, S. & Knutson, J. (2006). Child Abuse and Neglect: Definitions, Classification, and a Framework for Research.: Brookes Publishing Co.
Trickett, P.K. & Ghisletta, P. (2006). Application of Latent Growth Analyses to Health Outcomes of Adolescent Girls. In A. D. Ong and M. van Dulmen (Eds.) Handbook of Methods in Positive Psychology. (pp. 453-466). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Trickett, P.K. (2006). Defining child sexual abuse. In M. Feerick, J. Knutson, P. K. Trickett, & S. Flanzer (Eds.) Child Abuse and Neglect: Definitions, Classifications, and a Framework for Research. (pp. 129-149). Baltimore, MD : Brookes Publishing Co.
Trickett, P.K. (2006). Forward. In M. Feerick & G. Silverman (Eds.)Children Exposed to Violence. Baltimore, MD : Brookes Publishing Co.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Susman, E.J. & Putnam, F.W. (2006). Sleep disturbances and childhood sexual abuse (31), 241-252.
Trickett, P.K., Gordis, E.B., Granger, D.A. & Susman, E.J. (2006). Symmetry between salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase reactivity to stress: Relation to aggressive behavior in adolescents (31), 976-987.
Trickett, P.K., Nagrao, C., Bonanno, G.A., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2005). Shame, humiliation, and childhood sexual abuse: Distinct contributions and emotional coherence (10), 350-363.
Trickett, P.K. & Gordis, E. (2004). Aggression and antisocial behavior in sexually abused females. In K. Bierman & M. Putallez (Eds.) Aggression, Antisocial Behavior and Violence among Girls: A Developmental Perspective. New York: Guilford.
Trickett, P.K., Kurtz, D. & Pizzigati, K. (2003). Resilient outcomes in abused and neglected children: Bases for strength-based interventions and policies. In K. Maton, C. Schellenbach, B. Leadbeater, & A. Solarz (Eds.) Investing in children, youth, families,and communities: A strengths-based approach to research and policy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2003). A prospective investigation of the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the development of sexuality (71), 575-586.
Trickett, P.K., Duran, L. & Horn, J.L. (2003). Community violence as it affects child development: Issues of definition (6(4)), 223-236.
Trickett, P.K., Bonanno, G., Noll, J.G., Putnam, F.W. & O'Neill, M. (2003).Predicting the willingness to disclose childhood sexual abuse from measures of repressive coping and dissociative tendencies (8), 302-318.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Horowitz, L.A., Bonanno, G. & Putnam, F.W. (2003). Revictimization and self-harm in females who experienced childhood sexual abuse (18), 1452-1471.
Trickett, P.K., Bonanno, G., Keltner, D., Noll, J.G., Putnam, F.W., LeJeune, J. & Anderson, C. (2002). When the face reveals what words do not: Facial expressions of emotion, smiling, and the willingness to disclose childhood sexual abuse (83), 94-110.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G., Reiffman, A. & Putnam, F.W. (2001). Variants of intrafamilial sexual abuse experience: Implications for short and long term development (13), 1001-1019.
Trickett, P.K. (2000). Child sexual abuse. In R. Gottesman (Eds.)Encyclopedia of violence in the United States. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons.
Trickett, P.K., Noll, J.G. & Putnam, F.W. (2000). Social Network constellation and sexuality of sexually abused and comparison females in childhood and adolescence (5), 323-337.
Trickett, P.K. & Schellenbach, C. (1998). In Trickett, P. K. & Schellenbach, C (Eds.) Violence Against Children in the Family and the Community. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Trickett, P.K. & Horn, J.L. (1998). Community violence and child development: A review of research. In P. K. Trickett & C. Schellenbach (Eds.) Violence against children in the family and the community. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Trickett, P.K., Allen, L., Schellenbach, C. & Zigler, E.F. (1998). Integrating and advancing the knowledge base about violence against children: Implications for intervention and prevention. In P. K. Trickett & C. Schellenbach (Eds.) Violence against children in the family and the community. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Trickett, P.K. (1998). Introduction. In P. K. Trickett & C. Schellenbach (Eds.) Violence against children in the family and the community. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Trickett, P.K. (1998). Multiple maltreatment and the development of self and emotion regulation. In B.B.R. Rossman & M. S. Rosenberg (Eds.) The multiple victimization of children: Conceptual, developmental, research and clinical issues. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
Trickett, P.K. & Putnam, F.F. (1998). The developmental impact of sexual abuse. In P. K. Trickett & C. Schellenbach (Eds.) Violence against children in the family and the community. Washington, DC: APA Books.
Trickett, P.K., Horowitz, L., Reiffman, A. & Putnam, F.W. (1997). Characteristics of sexual abuse trauma and the prediction of developmental outcomes. In D. Cicchetti & S. L. Toth (Eds.) Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology. Volume VIII: The Effects of Trauma on the Developmental Process. (pp. 289-314). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
Trickett, P.K. (1997). Sexual and physical abuse and the development of social competence. In S. S. Luthar, J. A. Burack, D. Cicchetti, & J. Weisz (Eds.) Developmental Psychopathology: Perspectives on Risk and Disorder. (pp. 390-416).: Cambridge University Press.
Trickett, P.K., Nagel, D., Putnam, F.W. & Noll, J.G. (1997). Disclosure of sexual abuse and long term psychological functioning (21(2)), 137-147.
Trickett, P.K., Horowitz, L.A., Putnam, F.W. & Noll, J.G. (1997). Factors affecting utilization of treatment services by sexually abused girls (21), 35-48.
Trickett, P.K. & Putnam, F.W. (1997). The psychobiological effects of sexual abuse: A longitudinal study (831), 150-159.
Review of C.A. Nelson
Trickett, P.K., DeBellis, M.D., Burke, L. & Putnam, F.W. (1996). Antinuclear antibodies and thyroid function in sexually abused girls (9), 369-378.
Trickett, P.K. & McBridge-Chang, C. (1995). The developmental impact of different types of child abuse and neglect (15), 311-337.
Trickett, P.K., Putnam, F.W., Helmers, K. & Horowitz, L. (1994).Hypnotizability and dissociativity in sexually abused girls (19), 645-655.
Trickett, P.K., DeBellis, M.D., Chrousos, G.P., Dorn, L.D., Burke, L., Helmers, K., Kling, M.A. & Putnam, F.W. (1994). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation in sexually abused girls (78), 249-255.
Trickett, P.K., McBride-Chang, C. & Putnam, F.W. (1994). The classroom performance and behavior of sexually abused females (6), 183-194.
Trickett, P.K., DeBellis, M.D., Lefter, L. & Putnam, F.W. (1994). Urinary catecholamine excretion in sexually abused girls (33), 320-327.
Trickett, P.K. & Putnam, F.W. (1993). Child sexual abuse: A model of chronic trauma (58), 82-95.
Trickett, P.K., Putnam, F.W. & Helmers, K. (1993). Development, reliability, and validity of a child dissociation scale (17), 731-740.
Trickett, P.K. (1993). Maladaptive development of school-aged, physically abused children: Relationships with the child rearing environment (7), 134-147.
Trickett, P.K. & Putnam, F.W. (1993). The impact of sexual abuse on female development: Toward a developmental, psychobiological integration (4), 81-87.
Trickett, P.K., Connors, K. & Heisner, L. (1992). CAPINDEX: Using incidence of violent crimes to estimate spouse abuse and rape (7).
Trickett, P.K. & Weinstein, R.J. (1991). The physical abuse of adolescents. In R.M. Lerner, A.C. Petersen & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.) The encyclopedia of adolescence. (pp. 780-784). New York: Garland Publishing C.
Trickett, P.K., Schellenbach, C.J. & Susman, E.J. (1991). A multimethod approach to the assessment of physical abuse (6), 57-73.
Trickett, P.K., Aber, J.J., Carlson, V. & Cicchetti, D. (1991). The relationship of socioeconomic status to the etiology and developmental sequelae of physical child abuse, 27(148-158).More publications
- Master of Social Work