Physical punishment in childhood increased odds for CVD, obesity in adulthood.

Children who were punished with pushing or hitting, independent of severe child abuse, may have increased odds for developing adult CVD, arthritis and obesity, according to researchers.

In a recent study conducted by Tracie Afifi, PhD, of the departments of community health sciences, psychiatry and family social sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, potential associations between harsh physical punishment (i.e., pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting) independent of severe child maltreatment (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect and exposure to intimate partner violence) and various health conditions were examined.

 “The findings from the current study are novel and support the hypothesis that harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with higher odds of several adult physical health conditions,” researchers wrote.

They extracted 2004 and 2005 data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (n=34,226) which represented US adults aged 20 years or older.

According to data, harsh physical punishment was associated with greater probability of developing CVD with borderline significance, arthritis andobesity. These associations were consistent after adjustments for sociodemographic variables, family history of dysfunction and Axis I and II mental disorders, with odds ratios ranging from 1.20 to 1.30.

“Child maltreatment compared with no harsh physical punishment or child maltreatment was associated with high odds of all physical health outcomes,” researchers wrote. “Notably, when harsh physical punishment and child maltreatment categories were compared, no statistically significant differences were found for any of the eight physical conditions.”

According to researchers, these findings are consistent with the current literature. Afifi and colleagues recommend positive parenting approaches and nonphysical disciplinary methods to promote healthy child development.


Source: Endocrine Today

Implications of New Autism Diagnosis in DSM-5.

Most children with an existing diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) will still qualify for an autism diagnosis under the proposed fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — contrary to earlier concerns that many children would be excluded and therefore lose access to social services — according to an American Journal of Psychiatry study.

Researchers analyzed parental behavior reports for three groups of children, comprising nearly 4500 with PDD diagnoses and 700 with non-PDD diagnoses under DSM-IV. The DSM-5 criteria correctly identified 91% of children with PDD. When using parental report or clinical observation, the sensitivity increased to roughly 99%.

The authors write: “These results … provide evidence that the proposed criteria would likely be able to correctly classify a phenotypically wide range of children” with autism.

DSM-5 is expected to take effect in May 2013, the New York Times reports.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry