Perinatal complications and child abuse in a poverty sample

ArticleinChild Abuse & Neglect 24(7):939-50 · August 2000with6 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.47 · DOI: 10.1016/S0145-2134(00)00148-4 · Source: PubMed

    Abstract

    Perinatal medical illness has been associated with child maltreatment. Using a Child Protective Service (CPS) report as the defining event, this study explores to what extent perinatal morbidity is a risk factor for maltreatment.
    Medical charts of 206 children ages 0-3 years were reviewed. Data regarding birth history were collected and analyzed in three groups of children: children whose medical record indicated a report to CPS based on prenatal findings (Early Maternal Inadequacy group [EMI]), children whose medical record indicated a report to CPS based only on postnatal findings (Child Maltreatment group [CM]), and a control group without CPS report (NM).
    Compared to the CM and the NM groups, children in the EMI group showed significantly lower birth weight and higher neonatal morbidity as measured by Apgar scores, frequency of oxygen requirement and intubation at birth, frequency of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care unit, and frequency of neonatal medical problems. There was no significant difference between the CM and the NM groups in birth weight, gestational age, and other measures of morbidity.
    The results of the study suggest that perinatal complications are associated with prenatal maltreatment. Previously reported strong associations between neonatal morbidity and child abuse are more likely a result of antecedent prenatal maternal behaviors (early maternal inadequacy). Early maternal inadequacy, a clinically and demographically distinct phenomenon, is important due to serious health, development and financial implications and deserves further exploration.