November 1978

Fragile Families, Troubled Children: The Aftermath of Infant Trauma

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Indiana University School of Medicine 1100 W Michigan St Indianapolis, IN 46202


by Elizabeth Elmer, $7.95, 160 pp, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978.

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(11):1152. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120360108031

This book reports an eight-year follow-up study of abused infants first seen when they were younger than 1 year of age. A one-year follow-up was published in 1967.1 The present publication compares the outcome in 17 abused children with an equal number of children matched for age, race, sex, and socioeconomic status initially seen because of an accident and with a matched group without a history of abuse or accident. The social class of these children was predominantly low.

The initial hypotheses were that the abused children would achieve less than the other groups in health, physical development, intellectual functioning, language, and self-concept, and would rate higher in impulsivity and aggression. In actuality, eight years later, few differences could be documented. All groups were replete with a variety of health, speech, school, and emotional difficulties.

That children, younger than 1 year of age, in the study identified as abused

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