Zusammenhang von Geburtsgewicht und Kindsmisshandlung

Eine im aktuellen Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health publizierte Studie untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen niedrigem Geburtsgewicht und vorzeitiger Geburt einerseits und Kindsmisshandlung und -vernachlässigung andererseits. Ihr Datenmaterial besteht aus den Informationen über 119’771 Kinder, die zwischen Januar 1993 und Dezember 2001 in West Sussex zur Welt gekommen sind. Die Autoren kommen zum Schluss, dass ein linearer Zusammenhang besteht zwischen den Variabeln. Je früher und mit je weniger Gewicht ein Kind zur Welt kommt, desto höher ist sein Risiko, später von Kindsmisshandlung und -vernachlässigung betroffen zu werden. Ueber die Gründe, können die Autoren nur spekulieren:

There are a number of possible explanations for the associations reported here. Preterm infants or those with poor fetal growth may have characteristics that make them more vulnerable to all forms of abuse. It is possible that such infants may be more likely to provoke hostile parental feelings leading to increased risk of abuse. Early separation, more commonly experienced by preterm and small for gestational age infants, may interfere with parent-infant bonding, although this is unlikely to be an important factor except at the extremes. Alternatively, preterm birth and poor fetal growth may share a common pathway with abuse, for example, through maternal characteristics that predict increased risk of both poor pregnancy outcomes and child abuse. It is also possible that an unidentified confounding variable explains the apparent association. The design of this study does not permit definitive comment on these explanations. However, this study does suggest that any explanation must be consistent with the findings that all main categories of abuse broadly show the same association with both fetal growth and preterm birth and the association is not confined to infants born very early or very small but shows a trend across the range of fetal growth and gestational duration.

Das integrale Paper.