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

October 19, 2012, American Academy of Pediatrics

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."

Explore further: One million more children living in poverty since 2009, new census data released today shows

Related Stories

One million more children living in poverty since 2009, new census data released today shows

September 22, 2011
Between 2009 and 2010, one million more children in America joined the ranks of those living in poverty, bringing the total to an estimated 15.7 million poor children in 2010, an increase of 2.6 million since the recession ...

In Northern Ireland, political violence harms youths through families

February 8, 2012
War, the aftermath of war, and political violence are harmful to children's and teens' mental health and well-being. But few studies have looked at how this happens. A new longitudinal study of neighborhoods in Belfast, Northern ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 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.