By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The impact of physical and psychological abuse on children can not be overstated. The effects can be lifelong and without counseling and support it can lead to serious issues for the victim.

One of the most glaring examples is teen pregnancy. Despite downward trends, the U.S. teen birthrate remains among the highest in developed nations.

The link with abuse as a significant risk factor was made clear in a study in the Journal Pediatrics, where researchers followed 435 girls ages 14 through 17 over five years. They found that 54 of the girls who had been abused gave birth compared with 16 girls with no history of abuse. Maltreated girls were twice as likely to have a baby after controlling for a number of demographic variables and other known risk factors. Birth rates were highest for sexually abused girls.

Again, this is only one factor but one which needs to be looked at closely.

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