Adolescents experience maltreatment at rates equal to or exceeding those of younger children. Recent increases in reported cases of maltreatment have occurred disproportionately among older children and adolescents. However, adolescents are less likely to be reported to child protective services and are more likely to be perceived as responsible for their maltreatment. Adolescent girls are reported as victims more often than boys, especially in sexual abuse. However, boys may be less likely to be identified or reported and often are abused by nonfamily members. Parents of adolescent victims have higher average income and educational levels and are less likely to have a parental history of abuse than parents of younger children. A wide range of serious adolescent risk behaviors is associated with maltreatment. These include increased risk of premature sexual activity, unintended pregnancy, emotional disorders, suicide attempts, eating disorders, alcohol and other drug abuse, and delinquent behavior. Incarcerated youth, homeless or runaway youth, and youth who victimize siblings or assault parents have been shown to have high rates of prior maltreatment. Signs of maltreatment are often ambiguous for adolescents. Screening questions have been effective in prompting self-disclosure of abuse. Adolescents also experience problems in the child welfare system that offers fewer and less appropriate services for this age group. Recommendations are made regarding screening of adolescents for maltreatment, the development of better services for adolescents, research on parenting to prevent maltreatment, and training of school staff to identify and refer victims of maltreatment. (JAMA. 1993;270:1850-1856).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association|
|State||Published - Oct 20 1993|