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Child Abuse and Failure to Thrive: Individual, Familial, and Environmental Characteristics

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Abstract:

Similar theories of etiology have been postulated for child abuse and nonorganic failure to thrive (FTT). This study compared individual, familial, and environmental conditions in cases of child abuse to cases of FTT. Assessment of the mother's childhood home, supports, current living situation, attitudes toward her child, and child characteristics (such as temperament, social maturity, and complicating medical conditions) showed the groups to be remarkably alike. The major significant difference was that although both groups were poor, the abuse group was even more impoverished and lived in more crowded conditions than the families with a child with FTT. These data suggest a common etiologic context for different pediatric social illnesses and the need for a broad collaborative approach by pediatricians and colleagues in related disciplines.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, and the University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore. 2: Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, B.C. 3: The Comprehensive Child Health Program, The Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston. 4: The Family Development Study, The Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Publication date: January 1, 1989

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