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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 

Research links stressful events to poor health and behaviour in children

Research from the recently opened Inala Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health in Brisbane has found that children who have experienced stressful events in their lives have poorer physical health and more parental concern about behavioural issues than those who have not experienced such events.

Research Director at the Inala Indigenous Health Service, Dr Deborah Askew, says the stresses endured by children leads to a weakened immune system leading to problems like ear and skin infections that don't heal properly. Dr Askew says the children's behaviour at home and at school suffers because of these chronic conditions.

'We also found a strong relationship between reports of stressful events and behavioural problems. We figure that if kids are under constant stress or living in a stressful household and living with stress on a daily basis, they're going to muck up because that's their way of coping with all the stuff that's going on around them.'

Dr Askew says if a child is continually visiting the Inala clinic with symptoms such as skin or ear infections, the clinic follows up on possible cause of those stresses at home. 'We have employed a social worker and psychologist as core members of our health care team here looking to see, or offering the parents the opportunity at least to go and see the social worker or psychologist to help them try and sort out some of the stuff that's going on at home,' says Dr Askew.

344 children up to the age of 14 participated in the study with the findings published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Source: SBS News, Medical Journal of Australia

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Last updated: 20 September 2013
 
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