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Child Abuse Rises When Economy Sags: Study
Date:7/16/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- The housing crisis that has left so many people without a permanent home may have worsened another serious problem: child abuse. As mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures loom, the rates of child abuse leading to hospitalization also increased, according to new research.

Between 2000 and 2009, the rate of child abuse requiring hospital admission increased by 3 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the 90-day mortgage-delinquency rate. The rate of traumatic brain injury suspected to be caused by child abuse increased 5 percent a year for every 1 percent increase in the mortgage-delinquency rate, according to the study.

"On the community level, we need to recognize that losing a home is very stressful, and we need to let families know that it's OK to ask for help," said the study's lead author, Dr. Joanne Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We need to provide them links to resources where they can get help."

Results of the study will be published in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study was released online July 16.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, rates of child abuse declined dramatically, according to background information in the study. Some theorized that the decrease was likely due to a thriving economy.

Other recent research, however, has suggested that the rates of child abuse are rising. One study published in the October 2011 issue of Pediatrics found that the rates of abusive head trauma in children went from nine per 100,000 children to 15 per 100,000 children between 2004 and 2009. A second study, presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting in April 2011, found that the rates of abusive head trauma during the recession had doubled in children 2 years old and younger.

Wood said she initiated th
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