Online Program

Determinants of mental health illness in abused children, a 6-county survey in north Texas

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

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 co-morbid mental health issues in childhood. 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 multivariable 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 were identified between 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:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

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

Keyword(s): Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a Master's of Public Health as well and a Certification in Public Health awarded by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. I have been co-investigator on public health projects, several which were focused on children's health. For this project I worked in conjunction with the Director of Children's Health at Cook Children's, where I aided in the idea conception of the project, the data management, data analysis, and conclusions of the results.
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.