Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Emergency Department Visits for Teen Self-Inflicted Injuries

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief  
Dana Beveridge

          One of the most concerning situations we face is when one of our teen patients tries to hurt himself or herself in a serious manner, resulting in serious self-injury and sometimes even death.   
     To get a better sense of just how prevalent self-inflicted injuries in teens can be, Cutler et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3573) share the results of their analysis of more than 286,000 teens in the National Trauma Data Bank from 2009-2012 and identified more than 3600 teens with a self-inflicted injury with numbers increasing upward by year. What kinds of self-inflicted injuries were most common?   
     Interestingly enough, for males, it was firearm injuries and for women, cuttings and piercings.  Sadly those teens who did experience an episode of self-injury also had increased odds of subsequent death when compared to teens with other non-self-inflicted traumatic injuries.  So what can we do about this? 
      If we knew, we would be doing it—although if you aren’t assessing adolescents for access to firearms or evaluating their mental health and wellbeing, you may want to do so after reading this troubling study.  Are there things you feel are working to reduce the risk of self-inflicted injury in your teen patients?   
     Do you discuss this topic with your adolescent patients?  Share your thoughts with us by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter, or posting your comments on our Facebook or Twitter sites.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Victimization of Children and Weapon Involvement: Some Alarming Statistics

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief  

Texas A&M University-Com
      With so much attention on firearms and firearm safety in the news, the epidemiologic data on the prevalence of weapons involved in youth victimization seems to have been lacking—until now!   
      Mitchell et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3966) have shared data on a national survey of children exposed to violence and report an astounding finding—more than 17.5 million children and teens are exposed to violence in which a weapon is involved—meaning they have served as witnesses or victims.  More than 2 million children and teens report they have been directly assaulted in incidents where guns or knives were used.
       Perhaps those on the fence regarding strengthening our gun-safety practices will jump off that fence and recognize the need to do all we can to restrict youth access as well as exposure to firearms so that the mental health repercussions of being victimized by these weapons and the people using them can be reduced as much as possible.   
     There is a lot of important information in this study worth sharing with those who are making decisions regarding gun control in your state or region—so do not hesitate to share this important study wherever it can make a difference.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Parental Desensitization to Sex and Violence in the Movies

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

Photo by Brandon Kowitz via Flickr
Ever go to a movie loaded with violence, profanity, and sexuality and express surprise when you find out it’s a PG-13 and not an R-rated film? Do you think that you are sure PG-13 movies of the past never had as much sex and violence as they do now?

If so, you are not alone, but you may be victim of a desensitization phenomenon affecting parents who allow their children to attend PG-13 movies loaded with overly-graphic scenes of sex and violence that one used to attribute only to R-ratings.

Romer et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1167) set out to assess the desensitization of parents to repeat exposures to violence and sex in movies by inviting 1,000 parents of preteens and teens to view short scenes of violent or sexual content from popular movies from PG-13 or R-rated films. Afterwards, they asked the parents to determine the minimum age that a child might view that film. The more clips seen, the lower the age the parents chose for their children to view the same clips–consistent with parents becoming desensitized to sex and violence on screen.

Sadly, it may not be just parents but also the raters of films who are becoming desensitized and allowing younger children to attend more violent and more sexual films than ever before. This is an important study to read about and then share with your patients.

If you want some perspective on what this study suggests, consider the commentary by Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2803) that accompanies this study.

By the way, did you know there are now websites that tell parents just how much sex and violence and profanity appear in films? If not, you should know about such sites so you can direct parents of pre-teen and teenage patients to them so they are more aware of what their younger children might be exposed to when they go to the movies. Your ticket to this provocative early-released study from our journal awaits. So make some popcorn, click the link, and learn more.

Related Reading:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Violent Characters in Popular Movies and Their Other Concerning Risk-Taking Behaviors

Photo by Nemo via Pixabay
Recently we published a study showing the high prevalence of gun violence in popular grossing movies to be just as high in PG-13 as R-rated films (doi: peds.10.1542/2013-1600). But there’s now more bad news for you to think about exposure-wise when teens head for the movies—at least according to a most interesting study by Bleakley et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1922) that studied almost 400 top-grossing films from 1985 to 2010 to see if a character engaged in an act of violence also turned to sex, tobacco, or alcohol within the same 5 minutes of film footage.

Sadly, what you surmise is proven true the vast majority of the time with once again PG-13 and R films showing no differences in the number of co-occurrences between violence and other risk-taking behaviors. Clustering these activities so closely together makes one wonder what this does to the minds of our adolescents, let alone our own brains watching these violent films?

We welcome your comments via your responses below or via our social media or eLetter sites. Perhaps what you see on screen does not suggest similar behaviors in real life—although there are a number of studies looking at teen behaviors after watching characters smoke or drink on screen that would make you think otherwise.