Abuse Recurs Most Often in Adolescents

Article excerpt

HONOLULU -- Adolescents are far more likely to suffer recurrent abuse than are younger children, according to an analysis of data from 18 states within the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.

"Age matters," Dr. Vincent J. Palusci said at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in reporting factors associated with a second confirmed medical report of physical or sexual abuse in the 5 years following an initial confirmed abuse report.

Among 11,867 confirmed abuse cases in states with a complete data set for all 5 years, 1, 835 cases of recurrent abuse (15%) were identified by Dr. Palusci, a pediatrician at New York University's Frances L. Loeb Child Protection and Development Center of Bellevue Hospital Center in New York.

A univariate analysis found associations between recurrent abuse and age, race, drug exposure, family financial problems, and receipt of public assistance.

Based on his previous child abuse research, Dr. Palusci hypothesized that infancy would be a risk factor for future abuse. "It turns out, the rate of recurrence was twice as high for adolescents as infants," he reported. "That was surprising to me, but not to some of my colleagues who do adolescent medicine."

Being a "tween" or a school-aged child also conferred an elevated risk of recurrent abuse.

A logistic regression analysis found that adolescents were 2. …