Physical and sexual abuse of adolescents is becoming a major health problem in the United States. Among all confirmed cases of abuse, 28% occur between 12 and 17 years of age. Physical abuse in this age group often results from situational conflicts and discipline is frequently the rationale. In infants the sex distribution is approximately equal, but adolescent females are twice as likely to be abused as adolescent males, largely because of the frequency of sexual abuse. As the individual of first contact, the health care provider is often in a unique position to offer help to both the adolescents and their parents by maintaining open lines of communication, relating to the parents and the youth, diffusing potentially abusive situations, and treating cases appropriately when abuse occurs. This paper reviews the Minnesota definitions of abuse and neglect and presents recent Minnesota data on adolescent abuse. The dynamics of the problem are analyzed in comparison with child abuse and in the context of adolescent development. Suggestions are presented to assist the practitioner in identifying, treating, and reporting adolescent abuse.
- Adolescent abuse
- Sexual abuse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health