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Exposure to intimate partner violence and parental depression increases risk of ADHD in preschool children

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Question: Does exposure to parental depression or intimate partner violence (IPV) during the first 3 years of life have an effect on a child's subsequent mental health?

People: A total of 2422 children (52% boys, Hispanic/Latino 45.5%, Black 40.6%, White 10.5%) visiting health centres served by the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation (CHICA) paediatric primary care system, from birth to age 3 years, and again when aged between 37 and 72 months.

Setting: Four community health centres, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; November 2004–June 2012.

Risk factors: Exposure to IPV and parental depression within the first 3 years of life. This information was collected using screening questions presented in a prescreener form which parents completed in the clinic waiting rooms. To screen for depression, The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2) was used until 2010, and then replaced by the anxiety subscale of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS-3). IPV was screened using the questions ‘Has your partner kicked, hit or slapped you?’ and ‘Do you feel safe in your home?’

Outcomes: Child mental health diagnosis …

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  • Sources of funding Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Library of Medicine.

  • Competing interests None.