Pediatricians Should Look for Risk Factors Linked to Teen Suicide: Report

Pediatricians should look for risk factors linked to teen suicide, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Risk factors include substance abuse, a history of physical or sexual abuse, mood disorders, being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and bullying, the group notes in new guidelines.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, the group notes. The guidelines were first published in 2007, and were updated this year. Ben Shain, lead author of the new guidelines, said teen suicide rates may have increased because of the stresses and anger levels caused by electronic media.

They also may have risen because of a reluctance to use antidepressant medication, he said. USA Today notes the Food and Drug Administration required “black box warning” labels on antidepressants in 2004, which warn health care providers of increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior among children and teens who are taking the medication. The warnings led to a decrease in antidepressant prescriptions, the article notes.

Full story of pediatricians looking at risk factors linked to suicide at

Pentagon Targets Alcohol Consumption in Effort to Reduce Sexual Assault in the Military

The Defense Department (DOD) will target alcohol consumption as part of its campaign to reduce sexual assault in the military, Stars and Stripes reports. There were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assault by service members last year—a 50 percent jump from the previous year.

More than two-thirds of the reports involved alcohol use by either the victim, the assailant, or both. “[The alcohol policies] will be revised, where necessary, to address risks that alcohol poses to others, including the risk that alcohol is used as a weapon against victims in a predatory way,” said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Full story of alcohol consumption and sexual assaults at

Making Sad Sense of Child Abuse

When a man in Israel was accused of sexually abusing his young daughter, it was hard for many people to believe — a neighbor reported seeing the girl sitting and drinking hot chocolate with her father every morning, laughing, smiling, and looking relaxed. Such cases are not exceptional, however. Children react to sexual and physical abuse in unpredictable ways, making it hard to discern the clues.

Now Dr. Carmit Katz of Tel Aviv University’s Bob Shapell School of Social Work has found that when parents are physically abusive, children tend to accommodate it. But when the abuse is sexual, they tend to fight or flee it unless it is severe. The findings, published in Child Abuse & Neglect, help explain children’s behavior in response to abuse and could aid in intervention and treatment.

“All the cases of alleged physical abuse in the study involved parents, while we had very few cases of alleged parental sexual abuse,” said Dr. Katz. “More than the type of abuse, it may be that children feel they have no choice but to endure abuse by their parents, who they depend on for love and support.”

Disturbing data

About 3.5 million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States every year. Similarly alarming situations exist in many other countries. Abused children often suffer from emotional and behavioral problems, which can later develop into sexual dysfunction, anxiety, promiscuity, vulnerability to repeated victimization, depression, and substance abuse.

Full story of sense of child abuse at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Child Sexual Abuse Via the Internet On the Rise

Sexual abuse of children and adolescents can have serious health consequences for victims. Early studies have revealed that child sexual abuse is associated with an increased risk of later mental and physical health problems and risk-taking behavior. The Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich, the Psychosomatics and Psychiatry Department at Zurich’s University Children’s Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at University Hospital Zurich discovered that sexual abuse is alarmingly widespread in a representative sample of more than 6,000 9th grade students in Switzerland.

Sexual harassment via the Internet is mentioned most frequently

Among the study participants, mainly between 15 and 17 years old, roughly 40 percent of girls and 17 percent of boys reported they had experienced at least one type of child sexual abuse. Relative to boys, sexual abuse without physical contact was reported twice as often in girls and sexual abuse with physical contact without penetration three times more often. Both genders reported “sexual harassment via the Internet” as the most frequent form of abuse. This form of sexual abuse was experienced by roughly 28 percent of girls over the course of their lifetimes and by almost 10 percent of boys. At just under 15 percent for girls versus 5 percent for boys, “molested verbally or by e-mail/text message” was the second most common form of abuse. Just under 12 percent of the surveyed girls and 4 percent of the surveyed boys reported having been kissed or touched against their will. Approximately 2.5 percent of the girls had already experienced sexual abuse with penetration (vaginal, oral, anal or other); among boys, this figure was 0.6 percent.

Full story of internet child abuse at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Studying Dating Abuse in the Internet Age

Non-physical abuse by a dating partner such as threats, controlling behavior and harassing text messages can have a serious effect on a teenager’s health and well-being, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

The study, which appears in the research journal BMC Public Health, is one of the first to examine the effects of both physical and non-physical dating abuse that is relevant to today’s highly connected adolescents.

While physical and sexual violence significantly affected the health and behavior of adolescents aged 13-19, non-physical abuse such as stalking through text messages or email also had a considerable effect, said Amy Bonomi, lead researcher on the study and chairperson and professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

“Often an argument in society is that abuse that is not physical or sexual really doesn’t matter,” Bonomi said. “Is it really harmful, for example, if I call my partner a bad name? Or if I’m harassing or stalking them with text messages? Well, we’ve shown that it does have a negative effect on health.”

Full story of internet dating abuse at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education