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Diagnosis of a new mental health disorder greatest in the year after assault.
Children exposed to physical assault were at higher risk of a mental illness diagnosis over subsequent years, with the greatest risk seen in the year after the assault, a large population-based study from Ontario, Canada found.In the age-matched cohort study, children seen for physical assault in an acute care setting were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness over a median follow-up of nearly 7 years when compared with children who were not assaulted.
“Although it was expected that children who experienced assault would have a higher risk of mental illness, a novel finding from our study is that the risk was highest in the first year following physical assault,” the researchers wrote in JAMA Network Open.
In that initial year after the assault, the risk for a new mental health diagnosis was approximately three times higher compared with unexposed kids, and the elevated risk continued over the following 3 years.