Income Inequality and Child Maltreatment in the United States
ABSTRACT To examine the relation between county-level income inequality and rates of child maltreatment.
Data on substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect from 2005 to 2009 were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. County-level data on income inequality and children in poverty were obtained from the American Community Survey. Data for additional control variables were obtained from the American Community Survey and the Health Resources and Services Administration Area Resource File. The Gini coefficient was used as the measure of income inequality. Generalized additive models were estimated to explore linear and nonlinear relations among income inequality, poverty, and child maltreatment. In all models, state was included as a fixed effect to control for state-level differences in victim rates.
Considerable variation in income inequality and child maltreatment rates was found across the 3142 US counties. Income inequality, as well as child poverty rate, was positively and significantly correlated with child maltreatment rates at the county level. Controlling for child poverty, demographic and economic control variables, and state-level variation in maltreatment rates, there was a significant linear effect of inequality on child maltreatment rates (P < .0001). This effect was stronger for counties with moderate to high levels of child poverty.
Higher income inequality across US counties was significantly associated with higher county-level rates of child maltreatment. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.
SourceAvailable from: Nathalie Holz[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Converging evidence has highlighted the association between poverty and conduct disorder (CD) without specifying neurobiological pathways. Neuroimaging research has emphasized structural and functional alterations in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) as one key mechanism underlying this disorder. The present study aimed to clarify the long-term influence of early poverty on OFC volume and its association with CD symptoms in healthy participants of an epidemiological cohort study followed since birth. At age 25 years, voxel-based morphometry was applied to study brain volume differences. Poverty [0=non-exposed (N=134), 1=exposed (N=33)] and smoking during pregnancy were determined using a standardized parent interview, and information on maternal responsiveness was derived from videotaped mother-infant interactions at the age of 3 months. CD symptoms were assessed by diagnostic interview from 8-19 years of age. Information on life stress was acquired at each assessment and childhood maltreatment was measured using retrospective self-report at the age of 23 years. Analyses were adjusted for sex, parental psychopathology and delinquency, obstetric adversity, parental education and current poverty. Individuals exposed to early-life poverty exhibited a lower OFC volume and more CD symptoms. Moreover, we replicated previous findings of increased CD symptoms as a consequence of childhood poverty. This effect proved statistically mediated by OFC volume and exposure to life stress and smoking during pregnancy, but not by childhood maltreatment and maternal responsiveness. These findings underline the importance of studying the impact of early-life adversity on brain alterations and highlight the need for programs to decrease income-related disparities.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 15 October 2014. doi:10.1038/npp.2014.277.Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2014; 40(4). DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.277 · 7.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To examine national trends in hospital utilization, costs, and expenditures for children with mental health conditions.Methods The analyses of children aged 1 to 17 are based on AHRQ's 2006 and 2011 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) databases, and on AHRQ's pooled 2006 to 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). All estimates are nationally representative, and standard errors account for the complex survey designs.ResultsAlthough overall all-cause children's hospitalizations did not increase between 2006 and 2011, hospitalizations for all listed mental health conditions increased by nearly 50% among children aged 10 to 14 years, and by 21% for emergency department (ED) visits. Behavioral disorders experienced a shift in underlying patterns between 2006 and 2011: inpatient stays for alcohol-related disorders declined by 44%, but ED visits increased by 34% for substance-related disorders and by 71% for impulse control disorders. Inpatient visits for suicide, suicidal ideation, and self-injury increased by 104% for children ages 1 to 17 years, and by 151% for children ages 10 to 14 years during this period. A total of $11.6 billion was spent on hospital visits for mental health during this period. Medicaid covered half of the inpatient visits, but with 50% to 30% longer length of stays in 2006 and 2011, respectively, than private payers. Medicaid's overall share of the ED visits increased from 45% in 2006 to 53% in 2011.Conclusions These alarming trends highlight the renewed need for research on mental health care for children. This study also provides a baseline for evaluating the impact of the Affordable Care Act and the mental health parity legislation on mental health utilization and expenditures for children.Academic Pediatrics 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.acap.2014.07.007 · 2.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Emergency providers are confronted with medical, social, and legal dilemmas with each case of possible child maltreatment. Keeping a high clinical suspicion is key to diagnosing latent abuse. Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is best handled by a multidisciplinary team including emergency providers, nurses, social workers, and law enforcement trained in caring for victims and handling forensic evidence. The role of the emergency provider in such cases is to identify abuse, facilitate a thorough investigation, treat medical needs, protect the patient, provide an unbiased medical consultation to law enforcement, and provide an ethical testimony if called to court. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 01/2014; 24(1). DOI:10.1016/j.chc.2014.09.006 · 2.60 Impact Factor