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Article |

Abuse, Feelings, and Health Behaviors in a Student Population

Roberta A. Hibbard, MD; Catherine J. Brack, MS; Steven Rauch, MSW; Donald P. Orr, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(3):326-330. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150030100031.
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• Behavioral sequelae of child abuse are frequently cited, but there are few studies that examine the strength of association between behavioral effect and abuse for children in a nonclinical setting. Seven hundred twelve junior high school students (mean age, 13.5 years) were surveyed for self-report of personal experience with abuse, certain health behaviors, and self-esteem. Physical and/or sexual abuse was reported by 18.3% of students. Both types of abuse were associated with the following behaviors: running away; considering hurting oneself; suicide attempts; and the use of drugs, pot (marijuana), cigarettes, and laxatives. No clinically significant relationships were found between abuse and report of anger, sadness, or self-esteem. These data suggested that some feelings and behaviors were common among all adolescents sampled, while others were more common among abused adolescents. Recognition of strong associations should help direct clinical management. The results of this study confirm findings from some previous reports and indicate the need for further studies of children who are not in a clinical setting.

(AJDC 1988;142:326-330)


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