Document Detail


Preventing abusive head trauma resulting from a failure of normal interaction between infants and their caregivers.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23045677     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Head trauma from abuse, including shaken baby syndrome, is a devastating and potentially lethal form of infant physical abuse first recognized in the early 1970s. What has been less recognized is the role of the early increase in crying in otherwise normal infants in the first few months of life as a trigger for the abuse. In part, this is because infant crying, especially prolonged unsoothable crying, has been interpreted clinically as something wrong with the infant, the infant's caregiver, or the interactions between them. Here, we review an alternative developmental interpretation, namely, that the early increase in crying is a typical behavioral development in normal infants and usually does not reflect anything wrong or abnormal. We also review evidence indicating that this normal crying pattern is the most common trigger for abusive head trauma (AHT). Together, these findings point to a conceptualization of AHT as the consequence of a failure in an otherwise common, iterative, and developmentally normal infant-caregiver interaction. They also imply that there is a window of opportunity for prevention of AHT, and potentially other forms of infant abuse, through a public health primary universal prevention strategy aimed at changing knowledge and behaviors of caregivers and society in general concerning normal development of infants and the significance of early increased infant crying. If effective, there may be important implications for prevention of infant abuse nationally and internationally.
Authors:
Ronald G Barr
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2012-10-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109 Suppl 2     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-17     Completed Date:  2013-01-16     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  17294-301     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Developmental Neurosciences and Child Health, Child and Family Research Institute, British Columbia Children's Hospital, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, BC, Canada. rbarr@cw.bc.ca
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Caregivers / psychology*
Child Abuse / prevention & control*,  psychology
Child Development
Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control*,  psychology
Crying / psychology
Female
Humans
Infant
Infant Behavior / psychology
Infant, Newborn
Interpersonal Relations
Male
Parenting / psychology
Shaken Baby Syndrome / prevention & control*,  psychology
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