Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children's well-being another casualty of recession: Researchers see marked increase in abusive head trauma cases during economic downturn

Date:
May 7, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
The incidence of abusive head trauma among children has skyrocketed since the beginning of the recession in late 2007, according to new research.

The incidence of abusive head trauma among children has skyrocketed since the beginning of the recession in late 2007, according to research that presented May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Rachel P. Berger, MD, MPH., and colleagues from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) became concerned when, in 2008, there were more deaths from head injuries due to abuse (shaken baby syndrome) at their hospital than from non-inflicted brain injury.

"To think that more children died from abusive head trauma than from any other type of brain injury that year is really remarkable and highly concerning," said Dr. Berger, a child abuse specialist and researcher in the Child Advocacy Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The findings were so striking that Dr. Berger and her colleagues wondered whether this was a local phenomenon or if hospitals in other parts of the country were seeing similar increases. Dr. Berger teamed up with researchers from three other children's hospitals to determine whether the number of abusive head trauma cases had increased since the start of the recession and whether any increase was related to higher unemployment.

Researchers collected demographic and clinical data for all cases of unequivocal abusive head trauma before the recession (Jan. 1, 2004, through Nov. 30, 2007) and cases during the recession (Dec. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2009).

They collected data on 511 cases of abusive head trauma in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio, which had occurred during this six-year time period. Of these children, 63 percent had injuries that were severe enough that they were admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit, and 16 percent of the children died as a result of their abusive head trauma. In addition, one-third of children were older than 1 year.

There was a significant increase in the number of abusive head trauma cases during the recession, and all sites saw the increase, although the differences were most striking in Seattle and Pittsburgh, Dr. Berger said.

Researchers could not link the increase in abuse cases to higher unemployment rates. Dr. Berger noted that almost 90 percent of the children with abusive head trauma were receiving Medicaid at the time of their injury even in the years before the start of the recession. As a result, in this group of children, unemployment rates may not be a good measure of the effect of the recession; it is likely that the unemployment rates were high even before the recession started.

Researchers are continuing to look for an explanation for the increase, such as a decrease in social services. This type of decrease might result in an increase in family stress, which is a known risk factor for abuse, Dr. Berger said.

Regardless of the reason, the increase in abusive head trauma is very concerning and highlights the need for increased prevention efforts during times of economic hardship, Dr. Berger said. In addition, because a large percentage of the children throughout the six-year study period were older than 1 year of age, there may be a need to expand primary prevention programs, which currently focus almost exclusively on the parents of newborns, she added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Pediatrics. "Children's well-being another casualty of recession: Researchers see marked increase in abusive head trauma cases during economic downturn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100501013403.htm>.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010, May 7). Children's well-being another casualty of recession: Researchers see marked increase in abusive head trauma cases during economic downturn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100501013403.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Children's well-being another casualty of recession: Researchers see marked increase in abusive head trauma cases during economic downturn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100501013403.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins