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Psychosocial Consequences and Health Behaviors Associated with Early Childhood Physical Violence in Haiti: A National Population-Based Survey
Katherine T. Flynn-O'Brien, MD, MPH1 Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH1, Veronica A. Lea, MPH 2, Louis H. Marcelin, PhD3, Haiti John Vertefeuille, PhD4, James A. Mercy, PhD3.1 University of Washington, 2 Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Full, Atlanta, GA, 3 Department of Anthropology and Department of Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, GA

Background: Identify psychosocial consequences and health behaviors associated with physical violence in early childhood.

Methods: A population-based survey was administered to 13-24 year old Haitians using a three-stage clustered sample design. General liner model with Poisson regression and linearized variance-covariance of estimators were used to estimate risk ratios (aRR) between early childhood physical violence and health outcomes.

Methods: A total of 2,910 children were included in the study, with 57.0% of respondents reporting physical violence started before 12 years of age. Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and alcohol abuse were prevalent, with estimates of 49.2%, 22.4%, 17.4%, 8.3%, respectively. Victims of childhood violence before 12 years of age were 36% more likely to report symptoms of anxiety (aRR 1.36, 95% CI 1.08-1.71), compared to children who were not victims. They were twice as likely to express suicidal ideation (aRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.51-2.82) and more than twice as likely to report alcohol abuse (aRR 2.20, 95% CI 1.40-3.47), and more likely to be victims of emotional and sexual violence later in life (aRR 2.62, 95% CI 1.95-3.52; aRR 1.89, 95% CI 1.37-2.61, respectively). Sex-stratified crude and adjusted estimates for select psychosocial outcomes are displayed (Table).

Conclusions: Physical violence in early childhood is associated with subsequent mental health issues and substance abuse. It is also associated with higher cumulative incidence of sexual and emotional violence later in life.


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