eISSN: 2449-8580
ISSN: 1734-3402
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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1/2021
vol. 23
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Assessment of psychological indicators of domestic violence against children and youth from the child’s behavior in the dental office

Anna Pantelewicz
1
,
Tomasz Krasuski
2
,
Dorota Olczak-Kowalczyk
3

1.
Pediatric Dentistry Department, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
2.
Medical Psychology Department, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
3.
Head of Pediatric Dentistry Department, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
Family Medicine & Primary Care Review 2021; 23(1): 41–48
Online publish date: 2021/04/02
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Background
Children experiencing domestic violence may demonstrate behavioral impairments and emotional instability during a stressful visit to the dentist.

Objectives
To identify the influence of domestic violence on a child’s behavior in the dental office.

Material and methods
For the study, children under the protection of Family Support Centers (study group) and patients from normative families reporting for regular dental checkups (control group) were qualified. The consent of the WUM bioethics committee and the written consent of the parents/legal guardians of the patients, as well as participants above 16 years of age, were obtained. The examination consisted of a questionnaire, analysis of personal files, assessment of appearance and the child’s behavior and reaction during dental treatment in relation to parents and the doctor.

Results
The study was carried out in 2017–2019 and involved 404 in the study group (average age 11.4 ± 3.7) and 378 in the control group (average age 8.53 ± 3.92). THE Presence of physical (n = 123, 30.45%), sexual (n = 19, 4.7%) and emotional abuse (n = 266, 66.34%) in the study group was confirmed. Behaviors observed only in the study group were a sense of guilt, aggressive reaction to stress, self-mutilation, lack of basic hygiene and mismatched clothing. The study revealed a connection between physical and emotional abuse and behaviors coming from auto-aggressive reactions and reduced self-esteem. Sexual abuse was connected with excessive anxiety and aggressive and irritable reactions in the relationship with parents/caregivers and the doctor.

Conclusions
Children experiencing violence are characterized by typical behaviors, the knowledge of which can help to dispel doubts in case of suspicion of domestic violence.

keywords:

psychology, dental office, child abuse, misbehavior, neglect

 
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