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Child Abuse Negl. 1989;13(3):335-43.

Abuse and neglect in psychiatrically hospitalized multihandicapped children.

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Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, Pittsburgh 15213-1499.


Medical charts of 150 consecutive admissions of multihandicapped children to a psychiatric hospital were examined to determine the extent and characteristics of abuse and neglect. Results indicated that 39% of the sample experienced or had a history that warranted suspicion of past and/or current maltreatment. Physical abuse was the most frequent type of maltreatment, followed by neglect and sexual abuse. Maltreated multihandicapped patients admitted to the psychiatric unit were less likely to receive diagnoses of organic brain syndrome or profound mental retardation than nonmaltreated multihandicapped counterparts on the same unit. Moreover, data indicated that less severely impaired patients were more likely to be maltreated than were the more severely impaired. Particularly striking was the severity of maltreatment in this multihandicapped sample and the relatively high percentage (40%) of sexually abused patients who were assaulted by multiple perpetrators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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