Monday, March 07, 2011

Resources: Gender Differences in AHT/SBS - Pediatrics

A study in the current issue of Pediatrics examines the outcomes of AHT/SBS cases involving males and female perpetrators. Link to Pediatrics.

Abusive Head Trauma in Children: A Comparison of Male and Female Perpetrators:

Several studies have examined the relationship between perpetrators of abusive head trauma and their victims. However, no study has evaluated the effect of perpetrator gender on victim presentation, victim clinical outcomes, and perpetrator egal outcomes.

This study reports significant gender differences in perpetrators of abusive head trauma in children. Male perpetrators were younger and more likely to confess and be convicted. Victims of male perpetrators had more serious acute presentations and neurosurgical intervention and suffered worse clinical outcomes.

US News and World Report HealthDay summarizes the study's findings:

The tiny victims of shaken baby syndrome are equally likely to be injured by a man or a woman, although women are less likely to be convicted of the crime, according to a new study.

Perhaps because of men's sheer strength, the babies are also more likely to suffer graver harm if their abuser is male, and male perpetrators are more likely to confess to the crime and be convicted, the researchers found.

In data collected over 10 years on 34 cases of abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants, researchers found that abusers' gender was evenly split and that female abusers were typically significantly older than males.

And, as the MSNBC coverage notes:

... the researchers expressed concern that many cases of child abuse may go unreported. They cited research from the University of North Carolina showing that more than 2 percent of mothers admit to shaking children as a form of discipline on surveys -- likely a low estimate. [Link to UNC article]

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