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ERIC Number: EJ886685
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Child Abuse and Autonomic Nervous System Hyporesponsivity among Psychiatrically Impaired Children
Ford, Julian D.; Fraleigh, Lisa A.; Albert, David B.; Connor, Daniel F.
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v34 n7 p507-515 Jul 2010
Objective: Sexually or physically abused children are at risk for neurobiological dysregulation as well as for internalizing and disruptive behavior disorders. Stress-related autonomic nervous system (ANS) down-regulation has been proposed as a sequela of abuse and was investigated in the present study. Methods: Child Protective Services documented incidents of abuse were recorded for children in a sample of 262 pediatric psychiatric inpatients, as well as demographic, physical and intellectual functioning, and diagnostic and medication prescription data. Before and after a mildly stressful blood draw, noninvasive assessments of ANS activity were obtained. Results: Controlling for all other variables in logistic regression analyses, a history of physical abuse (45% overall prevalence) was associated with poststressor ANS hyporesponsivity (i.e., heart rate deceleration). Conclusions: Results suggest that a history of physical (but not sexual) abuse is associated with stressor-related ANS down-regulation in psychiatrically impaired children and adolescents. Practice implications: Stressor-related autonomic hyporesponsivity secondary to physical abuse may contribute to the impairment of severely emotionally disturbed children. Differential diagnosis of psychiatrically impaired children should include identification of those who have a history of physical abuse, and their treatment should address stressor-related hyporeactivity. (Contains 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A