Caretaker-child concordance for child's exposure to violence in a preadolescent inner-city population

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Journal Article
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2002, 156 (8), pp. 818 - 823
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Background: Effective screening for exposure to violence (ETV) in the pediatric setting depends on informant reliability and recognition of patients at increased risk. Pediatricians screening for children's ETV often rely on parent reporting. Hypothesis: That there would be poor caretaker-child concordance given that children would report events occurring outside the home not witnessed by the caretaker and that ETV would be higher among immigrant families. Objectives: To examine concordance between caretaker and child self-report of the child's ETV in a preadolescent population and to explore factors related to increased risk. Design: Community-based survey. Setting: Urban community health center. Participants: One hundred sixty-five caretaker-child pairs. Methods: The ETV was assessed by means of a standardized interview questionnaire on location and frequency of ETV. A Rasch model was used to develop summary scores of ETV (frequency and severity). Results: Caretaker-child concordance on reports of child's ETV was poor. The K statistics ranged from -0.04 for seeing someone knifed to 0.39 for witnessing a shooting. Children reported ETV more often in their neighborhood or at school, whereas caretakers reported more events near or at home. Univariate predictors of child's self-reported ETV were female sex (β ± SE, -10.1 ± 4.6; P =.03) and care taker being divorced (β ± SE, 12.6 ± 6.0; P=.04). In multivariate analyses, country of origin predicted child's ETV, adjusting for child's age and sex, and caretaker educational status and marital status. Conclusions: Caretakers and their children have poor agreement on reports of the child's ETV. Intervention strategies around ETV should include assessment of the child independent of caretaker report for preadolescents. Screening may be more effective if pediatricians are aware of factors related to increased risk, including immigration status and caretaker marital status.
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