Child Abuse Increased During the Recession, Study Says
9/19/2011 12:15:48 PM
A study, published this week in Pediatrics and conducted in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Washington, found that the number of children diagnosed with abusive head trauma in hospitals rose from 8.9 in 100,000 before the recession to 14.7 in 100,000 during the recession. Abusive head trauma, such as Shaken Baby Syndrome, is the leading cause of child death, and previous research suggests that times of stress can lead to increases in child abuse.
The study found 422 cases of abusive head trauma in hospital emergency rooms, with the average age of the child at 9 months. Sixteen percent of the children in the study died due to their injuries. The authors mention that an important factor in the rise in cases of AHT may be that the recession forced many people who had previously not been caretakers to be the primary caretakers for young children. In a MSNBC article on the study, Dr. Rachel P. Berger, one of the authors, notes the importance of teaching parents that it is ok to leave a crying baby safely in a crib and walk away after all basic needs have been taken care of when stressed. She also says that government decreases in programs to help infants and young children may also contribute to increased parental stress.
Schubert Center Director Dr. Jill Korbin has studied child maltreatment for over 35. She is currently editing a volume on C. Henry Kempe, a pediatrician who was the first to identify child abuse in a medical setting.
To read the study, click here.
To read an NPR article on the study, click here.
To read an MSNBC article on the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Early Childhood, Family, Parenthood, Violence
Article Proposes Prenatal and Early Childhood Origins of Violence
9/14/2011 11:08:30 AM
In an article published in January 2011 in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior, Dr. Jianghong Liu of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing proposes a framework for understanding the pre- and early post-natal origins of violence. Dr. Liu argues that the current literature neglects the role of early childhood in child and adolescent violent behavior and lacks long-term studies of how early childhood health impacts later behavior.
She proposes a variety of early health risk factors that may increase risk of childhood aggression, including smoking during pregnancy, birth complications, alcohol and drug consumption during pregnancy, teenage pregnancy, maternal depression, malnutrition, lead exposure, head injury, child abuse and maternal stress. These risk factors do the most damage during early childhood, when children’s neuro-development is at its peak. She argues that public health prevention programs targeting these risk factors are a heretofore-unused opportunity for violence prevention.
In a news article about her research, Dr. Liu says, “As a society we should invest in better health care for early life – as early as a growing fetus – in order to minimize their health risk factors for violence. It is never too early to intervene in the development of violent tendencies.” Her statement echoes the work of Dr. James Heckman, Nobel Laureate, who advocates for economic investment in early childhood education. A summary of his talk at the Schubert Center in March 2010 can be accessed here.
On September 27, Schubert Center Faculty Associate Dr. Daniel Flannery will be giving a talk on Merging Research, Practice, and Policy in Addressing Children’s Exposure to Violence. He is the director of the Semi J. and Ruth J. Begun Center for Violence Prevention at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. His current research projects include Project Tapestry, which studies violence prevention services for youth, and evaluation of the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program.
Several other Faculty Associates study violence in children and youth. Dr. James Spilsbury of the Center for Clinical Investigation studies the role of sleep disturbances in children who have been exposed to violence. Dr. Mark Singer of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences studies youth violence and co-existing drug and mental disorders.
To read the original article online, click here.
To read a Science Direct article on the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Development, Early Childhood, Family, Infancy, Violence
Announcing the Adoption Network Cleveland Scholars Program
9/7/2011 10:40:49 AM
Congratulations to CWRU junior and former “Child Policy” student Mai Segawa, who has developed the new Adoption Network Cleveland Scholars Program. Undergraduate and graduate students who complete the 12-hour program will receive a certificate from Adoption Network Cleveland. Registration deadline is Friday, October 14, 2011. Click here for more information.
Study Finds Secondhand Smoke Exposure Increases School Absenteeism
9/7/2011 10:20:12 AM
A study released in June from Massachusetts General Hospital found that children exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes missed significantly more days of school and reported significantly more ear infections and chest colds than children who do not live with smokers.
The study was an analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey. Fourteen percent of children surveyed lived with a smoker, representing 2.6 million children in the United States. Households without smokers were more likely to be higher educated, have a higher income and were more likely to be Hispanic than households with smokers. Households with one smoker had higher incomes and were more likely to be white than households with two or more smokers.
Children who lived with one smoker had on average one more day absent from school per year and children with two or more smokers one and a half more days absent than children without smokers in their homes. The authors found that eliminating smoking from the homes of children living with smokers could reduce their absenteeism by 24% to 34%. These data suggest that between one quarter and one third of missed school days are the result of secondhand smoke exposure. Additionally, this excess absenteeism resulted in caregivers losing $227 million per year in wages and household production while taking care of sick children.
Several Schubert Center Faculty Associates study the impact of low birth weight and prematurity, also associated with secondhand smoke exposure. Dr. H. Gerry Taylor studies the neurological implications of low birth weight. A policy brief on his recent talk on school progress in children with extreme prematurity can be downloaded here. Dr. Marilyn Lotas studies the health issues very low and low birth weight infants. Dr. Maureen Hack’s research interests include the outcome of very low birth weight children. Additionally, Dr. Scott Frank studies smoking cessation programs.
To read the study on Pediatrics website, click here.
To read a Science Daily article on the study, click here.
To read a CNN article on the study, click here.
Tags: Children, Education, Health, School