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Concept: Abuse

244

Child sexual abuse is considered a modifiable risk factor for mental disorders across the life course. However the long-term consequences of other forms of child maltreatment have not yet been systematically examined. The aim of this study was to summarise the evidence relating to the possible relationship between child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, and subsequent mental and physical health outcomes.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Child abuse, Sexual abuse, Abuse, Neglect

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There is increasing interest in discovering mechanisms that mediate the effects of childhood stress on late-life disease morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have suggested one potential mechanism linking stress to cellular aging, disease and mortality in humans: telomere erosion. We examined telomere erosion in relation to children’s exposure to violence, a salient early-life stressor, which has known long-term consequences for well-being and is a major public-health and social-welfare problem. In the first prospective-longitudinal study with repeated telomere measurements in children while they experienced stress, we tested the hypothesis that childhood violence exposure would accelerate telomere erosion from age 5 to age 10 years. Violence was assessed as exposure to maternal domestic violence, frequent bullying victimization and physical maltreatment by an adult. Participants were 236 children (49% females; 42% with one or more violence exposures) recruited from the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994-1995 birth cohort. Each child’s mean relative telomere length was measured simultaneously in baseline and follow-up DNA samples, using the quantitative PCR method for T/S ratio (the ratio of telomere repeat copy numbers to single-copy gene numbers). Compared with their counterparts, the children who experienced two or more kinds of violence exposure showed significantly more telomere erosion between age-5 baseline and age-10 follow-up measurements, even after adjusting for sex, socioeconomic status and body mass index (B=-0.052, s.e.=0.021, P=0.015). This finding provides support for a mechanism linking cumulative childhood stress to telomere maintenance, observed already at a young age, with potential impact for life-long health.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Senescence, Sociology, Body mass index, Ratio, Telomere, Abuse

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OBJECTIVE The authors examined midlife outcomes of childhood bullying victimization. METHOD Data were from the British National Child Development Study, a 50-year prospective cohort of births in 1 week in 1958. The authors conducted ordinal logistic and linear regressions on data from 7,771 participants whose parents reported bullying exposure at ages 7 and 11 years, and who participated in follow-up assessments between ages 23 and 50 years. Outcomes included suicidality and diagnoses of depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol dependence at age 45; psychological distress and general health at ages 23 and 50; and cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being at age 50. RESULTS Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression (odds ratio=1.95, 95% CI=1.27-2.99), anxiety disorders (odds ratio=1.65, 95% CI=1.25-2.18), and suicidality (odds ratio=2.21, 95% CI=1.47-3.31) than their nonvictimized peers. The effects were similar to those of being placed in public or substitute care and an index of multiple childhood adversities, and the effects remained significant after controlling for known correlates of bullying victimization. Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50. CONCLUSIONS Children who are bullied-and especially those who are frequently bullied-continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims' well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.

Concepts: Psychology, Cohort study, Sociology, Cognition, Abuse, Bullying, Victimisation, Socioeconomics

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“We can meet after my lecture, at a table, over a drink,” Carl Ogereau told me - that’s “the French way to fight terrorism,” he explained: refusing to be intimidated. So on Friday evening, one week after the Paris terrorist attack that left 130 dead and hundreds injured, Ogereau arrived on his motorbike at Café Clochette across the street from the Hôpital Saint Louis. Nearby, we saw candles and flowers outside Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, the restaurants where more than a dozen young people had been killed and many more severely injured the previous week. The restaurants are . . .

Concepts: United Nations, Abuse, Terrorism, French Revolution, Assault, Strasbourg, Louis IX of France, The French Way

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Because older victims of abuse tend to be isolated, their interactions with physicians are important opportunities to recognize abuse and intervene. This review explores the manifestations of elder abuse and the role of multidisciplinary teams in its assessment and management.

Concepts: Abuse

49

Bullying is the systematic abuse of power and is defined as aggressive behaviour or intentional harm-doing by peers that is carried out repeatedly and involves an imbalance of power. Being bullied is still often wrongly considered as a ‘normal rite of passage’. This review considers the importance of bullying as a major risk factor for poor physical and mental health and reduced adaptation to adult roles including forming lasting relationships, integrating into work and being economically independent. Bullying by peers has been mostly ignored by health professionals but should be considered as a significant risk factor and safeguarding issue.

Concepts: Economics, Aggression, Relational aggression, Abuse, Bullying, Anger, Hazing

45

The role of empathy and perspective-taking in preventing aggressive behaviors has been highlighted in several theoretical models. In this study, we used immersive virtual reality to induce a full body ownership illusion that allows offenders to be in the body of a victim of domestic abuse. A group of male domestic violence offenders and a control group without a history of violence experienced a virtual scene of abuse in first-person perspective. During the virtual encounter, the participants' real bodies were replaced with a life-sized virtual female body that moved synchronously with their own real movements. Participants' emotion recognition skills were assessed before and after the virtual experience. Our results revealed that offenders have a significantly lower ability to recognize fear in female faces compared to controls, with a bias towards classifying fearful faces as happy. After being embodied in a female victim, offenders improved their ability to recognize fearful female faces and reduced their bias towards recognizing fearful faces as happy. For the first time, we demonstrate that changing the perspective of an aggressive population through immersive virtual reality can modify socio-perceptual processes such as emotion recognition, thought to underlie this specific form of aggressive behaviors.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Violence, Child abuse, Virtual reality, Abuse, Psychological abuse, Violence against women, Intimidation

43

Cyberbullying has been portrayed as a rising ‘epidemic’ amongst children and adolescents. But does it create many new victims beyond those already bullied with traditional means (physical, relational)? Our aim was to determine whether cyberbullying creates uniquely new victims, and whether it has similar impact upon psychological and behavioral outcomes for adolescents, beyond those experienced by traditional victims. This study assessed 2745 pupils, aged 11-16, from UK secondary schools. Pupils completed an electronic survey that measured bullying involvement, self-esteem and behavioral problems. Twenty-nine percent reported being bullied but only 1% of adolescents were pure cyber-victims (i.e., not also bullied traditionally). Compared to direct or relational victims, cyber-victimization had similar negative effects on behavior (z = -0.41) and self-esteem (z = -0.22) compared to those not involved in bullying. However, those bullied by multiple means (poly-victims) had the most difficulties with behavior (z = -0.94) and lowest self-esteem (z = -0.78). Cyberbullying creates few new victims, but is mainly a new tool to harm victims already bullied by traditional means. Cyberbullying extends the reach of bullying beyond the school gate. Intervention strategies against cyberbullying may need to include approaches against traditional bullying and its root causes to be successful.

Concepts: Psychology, Relational aggression, High school, Motivation, Self-esteem, Abuse, Bullying, Psychological manipulation

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OBJECTIVE:Few studies have comprehensively examined weight-based victimization (WBV) in youth, despite its serious consequences for their psychosocial and physical health. Given that obese and treatment-seeking youth may be highly vulnerable to WBV and its negative consequences, the current study provides a comprehensive assessment of WBV in a weight loss treatment-seeking sample.METHODS:Adolescents (aged 14-18 years; N = 361) enrolled in 2 national weight loss camps were surveyed. An in-depth assessment of WBV was conducted by using an online survey, in which participants indicated the duration, typical locations, frequent perpetrators, and forms of WBV they had experienced.RESULTS:Findings indicate that 64% of the study participants reported WBV at school, and the risk of WBV increased with body weight. Most participants reported WBV enduring for 1 year (78%), and 36% were teased/bullied for 5 years. Peers (92%) and friends (70%) were the most commonly reported perpetrators, followed by adult perpetrators, including physical education teachers/sport coaches (42%), parents (37%), and teachers (27%). WBV was most frequently reported in the form of verbal teasing (75%-88%), relational victimization (74%-82%), cyberbullying (59%-61%), and physical aggression (33%-61%). WBV was commonly experienced in multiple locations at school.CONCLUSIONS:WBV is a prevalent experience for weight loss treatment-seeking youth, even when they are no longer overweight. Given the frequent reports of WBV from adult perpetrators in addition to peers, treatment providers and school personnel can play an important role in identifying and supporting youth who may be at risk for pervasive teasing and bullying.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Weight loss, Aggression, Relational aggression, Abuse, Bullying

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Whether spanking is helpful or harmful to children continues to be the source of considerable debate among both researchers and the public. This article addresses 2 persistent issues, namely whether effect sizes for spanking are distinct from those for physical abuse, and whether effect sizes for spanking are robust to study design differences. Meta-analyses focused specifically on spanking were conducted on a total of 111 unique effect sizes representing 160,927 children. Thirteen of 17 mean effect sizes were significantly different from zero and all indicated a link between spanking and increased risk for detrimental child outcomes. Effect sizes did not substantially differ between spanking and physical abuse or by study design characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Medical statistics, Child, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Abuse, Source, Gene V. Glass