More Can Be Done to Help Aggressive Kids

Many pediatricians aren't referring them to organizations that can help, study finds

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MONDAY, May 1, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that pediatricians often fail to refer children with aggression problems to appropriate organizations -- a move that could help curb future violence.

"We know that aggression in children is a predictor of violence later in life," researcher Dr. Shari Barkin, a pediatrician at Brenner Children's Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said in a prepared statement. "We must train pediatricians to identify aggression early and use the resources in their local communities, such as parenting classes and Boys and Girls Clubs," she said.

The study of 1,100 parents with children aged 2 to 11 found that 12 percent of the parents were worried that their child was more aggressive than other children in their peer group. However, only 3.7 percent of the parents said their pediatrician had provided a referral to an appropriate community agency.

Of the 3.7 percent of parents who received a referral for their child, 38 percent had asked for the referral directly. In other cases, pediatricians made referrals after they noticed signs of a possible mental health issue, abnormal interaction between a parent and child, or high levels of parental stress.

The study was to have been presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, in San Francisco.

"We must work to dismantle these barriers and get children the services they need early," said Barkin, who noted that the rate of childhood aggression is increasing.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about childhood aggression.

SOURCE: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, news release, April 29, 2006

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