More bad news from the economic crisis.
A study of abusive head trauma in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Columbus (OH) and Cincinnati finds strong evidence of an increase in unequivocal cases since the start of the recession. Using data from the Child Protection Teams at four major hospitals from January 2004 through June 2009, the researchers found a rate of 4.8 cases of abusive head trauma in children before December 2007 — which they identified as the start of the recession — and 9.3 per month after that.
Abusive head trauma is the leading cause of death from child abuse. Poverty and stress are risk factors for abuse. During an economic recession, these risks are amplified while social service supports are often decreased.
The paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, reported on here.