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Mental health illness in abused children, a 6-county survey in north Texas

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kelly Bowers, MPH, CPH, Center for Children's Health, Cook Children's Health Network, Fort Worth, TX
Introduction Child abuse is a notable risk factor for the development of mental health issues in children; however, not all children who are abused experience comorbid mental health issues in childhood1,2. Unfortunately, an incomplete understanding of the determinants and risk factors of simultaneous mental health illness and abuse in children weakens the ability to devise sound services, programs and interventions. The study's objective was to examine the differences in demographic, behavioral and co-morbid factors among abused children with and without mental health problems. Methods The data was adapted from the Community-Wide Children's Health Assessment and Planning Survey (CCHAPS). The survey included n=16,183 children between the years of 0-15 from 2008-2012 in six North Texas counties. An abused child was defined as any child reported having experienced any type of 5 abuses; a child was determined to have mental health problems if reported by the parent and/or confirmed by a doctor's diagnosis. Univariate and bivariate analysis was performed to assess associations and risk factors. Results Approximately 33% of abused children reported mental health problems, this was significantly higher than the total sample (p<0.05). Significant differences in gender, self-esteem, sleep problems, and bullying exited between the abused children with and without mental health issues (p<0.01). Conclusion Identifiable differences exist between abused children with and without mental health problems. Understanding the differences between these vulnerable populations is important to ensure that adequate care and services are available.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess differences between abused children with and without mental health problems. Identify the association between demographic, behavioral and co-morbid factors of mental health problems in abused children Evaluate child abuse and mental health problems in a 6 county profile in North Texas.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for the background literature, methods, analysis and conclusions on this piece of research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.