Trauma Takes a Toll on Half of U.S. Kids

TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of American children have faced at least one traumatic experience, such as the death of a parent, witnessing a violent crime or living with someone who is usually suicidal or abuses drugs or alcohol, fresh research reveals.

These events can trigger high levels of stress, which can have serious as well as lasting effects on children’s development, heath as well as overall well-being, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

They noted, however, in which effective parenting, supportive neighbors, involved schools as well as teaching kids how to be resilient can all help reduce these harmful effects.

“Every child deserves a healthy start,” said Richard Besser, president as well as CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research. “A loving home, a not bad school, a safe neighborhood — these things are the foundation for a long as well as happy life, yet too many children don’t have them.”

“Too often, children experience trauma in which can be devastating,” Besser said in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation news Discharge.

“although trauma doesn’t have to define a child’s life trajectory. They can be incredibly resilient,” he added. “With policies in which help families raise healthy children, as well as the consistent presence of caring adults in their lives, we can reduce the impact of trauma on children’s health as well as help them thrive inside face of adversity.”

Overall, 46 percent of U.S. children have faced at least one traumatic experience, as well as more than 20 percent have faced at least two, the Hopkins researchers found.

When looking at states individually, the analysis found in which nearly 40 percent of children in every state had experienced at least one trauma as well as, in 16 states, at least 25 percent of children had experienced at least two.

The findings came by an analysis of data by the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted by the Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The analysis was published inside September/October issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Children who deal with trauma face an increased risk for long-term health issues, including smoking, alcoholism, depression as well as heart as well as liver diseases.

The researchers found in which 33 percent of children who faced two or more traumatic events had a chronic health condition in which required specialized care, compared with about 14 percent of children who never experienced trauma.

The researchers noted in which trauma doesn’t discriminate, affecting children of all races, ethnicities as well as socioeconomic backgrounds. Overall, about 40 percent of white children, 51 percent of Hispanic children as well as 64 percent of black children experienced one or more traumatic events, the study found.

Traumatic events were more common among low-income families, affecting 62 percent of children whose family income was well below the federal poverty line, compared with 26 percent of children by high-income families.

The age at which children face a trauma matters, according to the researchers.

Preschoolers who had at least two traumatic experiences were more than four times more likely to struggle with managing their emotions, such as staying calm, avoiding distraction as well as creating friends. Meanwhile, children aged 6 to 17 who faced at least two traumatic events were twice as likely as their peers to not be engaged at school, the study showed.

“Traumatic events don’t just affect an individual child — families, neighborhoods as well as communities all bear the brunt of these difficult circumstances, which add up over time,” said Christina Bethell, with the Child & Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. “If a child’s stress as well as unhealed trauma leads to acting out in class, in which disruption is usually felt by the different children inside room as well as the teacher.”

“These impacts require the healing of trauma at a family, community as well as societal level,” she said.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, news Discharge, Oct. 19, 2017

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