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Childhood trauma linked to higher rates of mental health problems, Stanford/Packard finds
Date:6/8/2011

alth in adults with their dose of exposure to nine types of adverse childhood events, including being subject to various kinds of abuse or neglect; having a household member who abused alcohol or drugs, was incarcerated or was mentally ill; having a mother who was treated violently; and not living in a two-parent household. Middle-class men exposed to more of these events had more chronic diseases in adulthood, the prior research found. The results of the current study highlight the need for early identification of such adversity-associated health problems, and early intervention. Obesity, for example, may act as a mediator to other health problems such as diabetes, cardiac risk and inflammatory illness.

To perform the study, the researchers evaluated medical records from 701 children treated at a primary-care clinic in Bayview-Hunter's Point, a San Francisco neighborhood with high rates of poverty and violence. About half the children were African-American; the rest came from other ethnic backgrounds. Each child's exposure to adverse events was scored on a scale from 0 to 9, with one point given for each type of adversity. The researchers also evaluated the medical records for evidence of obesity and learning or behavior problems.

Two-thirds of the children in the study had experienced at least one category of adversity, and 12 percent experienced four or more categories. An adversity score of 4 or higher left kids 30 times as likely to show learning and behavior problems and twice as likely to be obese as those with a score of 0. Children with an adversity score of 1 were 10 times as likely to have learning and behavior problems as those not exposed to trauma.

Prior research has shown that about 30 percent of children in violent communities have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which can include the learning and behavior problems detected in the current study, Carrion noted. However, a physician unaware of the fact that a chil
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Contact: Erin Digitale
digitale@stanford.edu
650-724-9175
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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