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Twins and Child Abuse

Karen Kirhofer Hansen, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(12):1345-1346. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170120107021.
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An increased incidence of child abuse and neglect has been documented surrounding twin births. Levy1 wrote about an increased rate of infant mortality and failure to thrive in twins born into the modern Navajo culture. Robarge et al,2 in a singleton-birth matched control study, showed an increased incidence of abuse in families after the birth of twins, both in siblings of the twins and in the twins. In a related study, Groothuis et al3 documented that twin births are associated with a high incidence of perinatal complications that also predispose to abuse. When regression analysis was used to control for perinatal complications, twin status itself was found to be a risk factor for subsequent abuse, presumably owing to the many family stresses imposed by twin births. Nelson and Martin4 found an increased incidence of abuse among twin pairs. Both twins of a pair were abused 60%

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