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Child Abuse Negl. 1993 Nov-Dec;17(6):709-14.

A legacy of violence in nonorganic failure to thrive.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Children's Hospital, Denver 80218.


It is often postulated that a mother's past experiences influence her ability to function as a parent. If those past experiences involve her as a victim of abuse, what lies ahead for her offspring? We studied 59 mothers of children referred for nonorganic failure to thrive (NOFTT) to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and compared their abuse history with a group of 131 mothers of children with normal growth. The mothers of NOFTT children were younger but of the same socioeconomic groups as the comparison mothers. Mothers of NOFTT children had a significantly higher history of abuse when compared to the comparison group p < 0.001. A surprising 80% of mothers of NOFTT children reported they were victims of abuse. We alert clinicians to the likelihood that mothers of children with NOFTT may be victims of abuse and that successful treatment of the child depends upon treatment of the mother-child dyad.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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