Collective violence and poverty on the Mexican-US border affects child mental health

Collective violence attributed to organized crime and poverty are adversely affecting the mental health of children living near the Texas-Mexico border, according to a poster presented Oct. 19 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

In the study, "Children's Mental Health and Collective Violence: A Bi-National Study on the United States/," researchers compared psychosocial and behavior scores among children and adolescents living in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico in 2007 and again in 2010. All the participating children were of Hispanic origin (Mexican or Mexican-American), lived below the and went to a clinic for a non-emergency visit. None of the children had a history of diagnosed mental illness, or a neurological or life-threatening disease or disability.

The psychosocial and behavioral scores among children living in poverty in El Paso, Texas did not change significantly between 2007 and 2010, although these children living in poverty had considerable psychosocial and behavioral problems, said study author Marie Leiner, PhD.

At the Mexican site, however, children exhibited significant increases in social problems, rule breaking and , with higher scores reported in 2010.

"There is cumulative harm to the mental health of children from the combination of collective violence attributed to organized crime and poverty," said Dr. Leiner. "Untreated predict violence, anti-social behaviors and delinquency, and this affects families, communities and individuals.

"It is crucial to address the mental health of children on the border to counteract the devastating effects this setting will have in the future."

Related Stories

Violence against women impairs children's health

date Sep 11, 2008

Violence against women in a family also has serious consequences for the children's growth, health, and survival. Kajsa Åsling Monemi from Uppsala University has studied women and their children in Bangladesh and Nicaragua ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

date May 22, 2015

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

date May 22, 2015

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.