MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amanda Fingarson, DO Attending Physician, Child Abuse Pediatrics Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Child physical abuse is a substantial pediatric public health issue, with significant morbidity and mortality. Studies have found that men, particularly children’s fathers and mothers’ boyfriends are common perpetrators of physical abuse. There is still a lack of knowledge, however, about the specific caregiver features that increase a child’s risk for physical abuse.
Our study design was unique, in that it was a multi-center study that compared young children with abusive and accidental injuries. Our primary finding was that abuse was much more likely when a male caregiver was present, and the resulting injuries were more likely to be severe or fatal. The presence of the mother’s boyfriend was the riskiest scenario, with the highest likelihood of abuse. Similarly, we found that caregiver relationships of less than 1 year increased the odds of abuse. Overall, the likelihood of abuse with female caregivers was much lower, with the exception of female babysitters. A final important finding of our study was that caregiving arrangements that were different than usual at the time of injury were at increased risk of abuse, suggesting that a stable and consistent caregiver is also important. (more…)