Three families are described in which the healthy only child was, from early childhood, put to bed and treated as if ill, dependent, and incapable. This abnormal mothering continued for 28, 45, and 48 years, respectively, and the children died as disabled adults. In each case, the three mothers evaded medical, educational, and social services. The origins of their behaviour are examined, and the links with more common forms of separation anxiety, school refusal, and perceived and factitious illness are discussed. (+info)
The prevalence and distribution of bruising in babies.
AIM: To obtain a prevalence rate and determine the distribution of accidental bruising in babies. METHODS: 177 babies aged 6-12 months were examined naked to look for bruises. They were seen in health visitor hearing test clinics and child health surveillance clinics. The site, size, shape, and colour of bruises were recorded on a skin map, and the parent's explanation noted. Any other injury was recorded. Data collection included the baby's age, mobility and weight, demographic details, and health visitor concerns. RESULTS: Twenty two babies had bruises, giving a prevalence rate of 12%. There was a total of 32 bruises, 15 babies had one bruise. All bruises were found on the front of the body and were located over bony prominences. Twenty five of the bruises were on the face and head, and seven were on the shin. The babies with bruises on the shin were mobile. There was a highly significant increase in bruises with increase in mobility. CONCLUSIONS: The study has produced a prevalence and distribution of bruising in babies and sets a baseline from which to work when assessing bruises. It also tested out the methodology, which could be used in further research, particularly of younger babies. Clinicians need to assess a baby's level of development when considering whether a bruise is accidental. (+info)
Primary prevention of child abuse.
In 1993, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect declared a child protection emergency. Between 1985 and 1993, there was a 50 percent increase in reported cases of child abuse. Three million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States each year. Treatment of the abuser has had only limited success and child protection agencies are overwhelmed. Recently, efforts have begun to focus on the primary prevention of child abuse. Primary prevention of child abuse is defined as any intervention that prevents child abuse before it occurs. Primary prevention must be implemented on many levels before it can be successful. Strategies on the societal level include increasing the "value" of children, increasing the economic self-sufficiency of families, discouraging corporal punishment and other forms of violence, making health care more accessible and affordable, expanding and improving coordination of social services, improving the identification and treatment of psychologic problems, and alcohol and drug abuse, providing more affordable child care and preventing the birth of unwanted children. Strategies on the familial level include helping parents meet their basic needs, identifying problems of substance abuse and spouse abuse, and educating parents about child behavior, discipline, safety and development. (+info)
Unnatural sudden infant death.
AIM: To identify features to help paediatricians differentiate between natural and unnatural infant deaths. METHOD: Clinical features of 81 children judged by criminal and family courts to have been killed by their parents were studied. Health and social service records, court documents, and records from meetings with parents, relatives, and social workers were studied. RESULTS: Initially, 42 children had been certified as dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and 29 were given another cause of natural death. In 24 families, more than one child died; 58 died before the age of 6 months and most died in the afternoon or evening. Seventy per cent had experienced unexplained illnesses; over half were admitted to hospital within the previous month, and 15 had been discharged within 24 hours of death. The mother, father, or both were responsible for death in 43, five, and two families, respectively. Most homes were disadvantaged--no regular income, receiving income support--and mothers smoked. Half the perpetrators had a history of somatising or factitious disorder. Death was usually by smothering and 43% of children had bruises, petechiae, or blood on the face. CONCLUSIONS: Although certain features are indicative of unnatural infant death, some are also associated with SIDS. Despite the recent reduction in numbers of infants dying suddenly, inadequacies in the assessment of their deaths exist. Until a thorough postmortem examination is combined with evaluation of the history and circumstances of death by an experienced paediatrician, most cases of covert fatal abuse will go undetected. The term SIDS requires revision or abandonment. (+info)
Adolescents' pregnancy intentions: relations to life situations and caretaking behaviors prenatally and 2 years postpartum.
PURPOSE: This study explores if and how adolescents' pregnancy intentions relate to life situations and health-related behaviors prenatally and up to 2 years postpartum. METHODS: Adolescent girls who reported that they had "wanted a baby" (n = 75) as their reason for pregnancy were compared with those who reported that the pregnancy "just happened" (n = 79) at four separate time periods: prenatally, at 6 and 24 months postpartum, and at 18 months postpartum for teens who became pregnant again subsequent to the study pregnancy. RESULTS: Those who stated that they wanted a baby were more likely to be Hispanic, married, and out of school before becoming pregnant. They were less likely to receive welfare as their primary means of support and to have run away from home in the past than teens who stated that their pregnancy just happened. Self-reported reason for pregnancy was unrelated to repeat pregnancy by 18 months postpartum, but those who had wanted the study baby were less likely to undergo elective termination of a subsequent pregnancy and less likely to become pregnant by a different partner. The groups diverged at 24 months postpartum when those who wanted a baby were more likely to be married to the father of the baby, be financially supported by him, receive child care assistance from him, and have attempted or succeeded at breastfeeding the study child. CONCLUSION: Self-reported reason for pregnancy reveals many important characteristics of pregnant adolescents both at the time of presentation and up to 2 years postpartum. Young women in this study who reported intentional pregnancy seem to fare better with regard to their financial status and their relationship with the father of the baby. (+info)
Vulvovaginitis: clinical features, aetiology, and microbiology of the genital tract.
AIM: To clarify the contribution of clinical and environmental factors and infection to the aetiology of vulvovaginitis in premenarchal girls, and to determine clinical indicators of an infectious cause. DESIGN: It was necessary first to define normal vaginal flora. Cases were 50 premenarchal girls > 2 years old with symptoms of vulvovaginitis; 50 controls were recruited from girls in the same age group undergoing minor or elective surgery. RESULTS: Interview questionnaire showed no difference between cases and controls in regards to hygiene practices, exposure to specific irritants, or history of possible sexual abuse. Normal vaginal flora was similar to that described in previous studies, with the exception of organisms likely to be associated with sexual activity. 80% of cases had no evidence of an infectious cause. In the 10 cases in whom an infectious cause was found, there was significantly more visible discharge and distinct redness of the genital area on examination compared with other cases. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that vulvovaginitis in this age group is not usually infectious or necessarily related to poor hygiene, specific irritants or sexual abuse, although any of these can present with genital irritation. The possibility of sexual abuse should always be considered when a child presents with genital symptoms, but our data indicate it is not a common contributing factor. Infection is generally associated with vaginal discharge and moderate or severe inflammation. (+info)
The association between tender points, psychological distress, and adverse childhood experiences: a community-based study.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the hypothesis that characteristics of somatization and illness behavior, and their childhood antecedents, are associated with the presence of multiple tender points. METHODS: Two hundred eighty-nine subjects who had demonstrated psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire score > or =2) had a tender point examination and in-depth psychological evaluation. In addition, subjects were interviewed about a number of adverse childhood experiences. The 99 subjects with 5 or more tender points were compared with the remaining 190 subjects. RESULTS: A high tender point count (> or =5) was associated with low levels of self-care (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.1-5.0), reports of a greater number of somatic symptoms (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0-4.9), high levels of fatigue (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.3), and a pattern of illness behavior characterized by increased medical care usage (OR 4.2, 95% CI 2.1-8.4). Those with high tender point counts were substantially more likely to report adverse childhood experiences, including loss of parents (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-3.9) and abuse (OR 6.9, 95% CI 2.0-24.6). These results were not explained by the presence of chronic pain. CONCLUSION: These data add further weight to the hypothesis that tender points, as part of the fibromyalgia syndrome, are strongly associated with specific components of psychological distress as well as characteristics of somatization and its antecedents. It is possible that these features contribute to the development of the syndrome of fibromyalgia. (+info)
How can we boost IQs of "dull children"?: A late adoption study.
From 5,003 files of adopted children, 65 deprived children, defined as abused and/or neglected during infancy, were strictly selected with particular reference to two criteria: (i) They were adopted between 4 and 6 years of age, and (ii) they had an IQ <86 (mean = 77, SD = 6.3) before adoption. The average IQs of adopted children in lower and higher socioeconomic status (SES) families were 85 (SD = 17) and 98 (SD = 14.6), respectively, at adolescence (mean age = 13.5 years). The results show (i) a significant gain in IQ dependent on the SES of the adoptive families (mean = 7.7 and mean = 19.5 IQ points in low and high SES, respectively), (ii) IQs after adoption are significantly correlated with IQs before adoption, and (iii) during adolescence, verbal IQs are significantly lower than performance IQs. (+info)