Physical child abuse is associated with mental health problems

Children and adolescents who have been physically assaulted are nearly twice as likely as other children and adolescents to develop a mental illness after the assault, and the risk is even higher in the first year after the incident. Research suggests.

The analysis, published Wednesday in the JAMA Network Open, looked at the medical records of 27,435 children living in Ontario, Canada, some of whom turned 14 years old between 2006 and 2014. It included 5,487 children who had previously been physically assaulted and had been admitted to an emergency room or hospital.

Only 23.4% of children who had not been assaulted received a mental health examination after being assaulted, compared to 38.6% of the children who had been assaulted. Children who were assaulted were 1.96 times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness, and 3.08 times more likely to undergo a mental health examination in the year following the assault.

Children who were assaulted were more likely to be diagnosed with non-psychiatric disorders, behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, substance use disorders, and intentional self-harm. Most were diagnosed in an outpatient setting, but 14% were diagnosed in an ER or hospital, 2.8% in children who were not assaulted, 2.4% after intentional self-harm, 0.5% of children. Children who have not been assaulted.

Children who survived assault were more likely to have mothers with mental illness (34.5% of mothers compared to 19.1% of children who had not been assaulted) and more likely to have experienced domestic violence or assault. Mothers were more likely to have reported (4.6% for non-violent children and 0.5% for non-violent children). not assaulted). Mothers were also much more likely to have been under the age of 19 at birth.

The researchers acknowledge that the actual number of children in the cohort who were physically assaulted was probably higher than reported, because many assaults do not result in emergency room visits or hospitalization.

The study also excluded children diagnosed with a mental illness prior to known assault. “Children who have experienced assault may have more frequent encounters with the health care system because of their injuries, and may also have an increased chance of their mental illness being detected,” the researchers wrote.

This study suggests that it is important to treat children within one year of a known assault, and interventions should be tailored to the types of most prevalent assault-related mental illnesses. added.

“Childhood physical abuse is common and can lead to lasting mental health problems,” the researchers wrote. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one billion of her children, half of the world’s children, are victims of violence every year.

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