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Infant Maltreatment-Related Mortality in Alaska: Correcting the Count and Using Birth Certificates to Predict Mortality

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 34 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2010 Pages: 951-958
Jared W. Parrish; Bradford D. Gessner
Date Published
December 2010
8 pages
This retrospective observational cohort study of infants born in Alaska from 1992 through 2005 determined the additional cases of maltreatment-related infant mortality identifiable through multi-source extraction when compared to vital records alone, and it assessed the usefulness of birth certificate variables for identifying children at increased risk of maltreatment-related infant mortality.
The study developed a comprehensive maltreatment surveillance system for identifying overall maltreatment-related infant mortality rates in Alaska. Using this system, three to over five times more maltreatment-related infant deaths were identified (depending on the case definition) compared with using death certificates alone. These results were similar to other studies that have used multi-source data. All infants in each birth year of the cohort were followed until death or age 1 year, whichever came first, and they were grouped by those that died due to a maltreatment-related event and those that did not. Data were obtained from a two-tier data linkage process between the Alaska Surveillance of Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) database, and a linked birth and death Vital Records database. The SCAN database is a collection of multiple administrative databases and data systems derived from agencies throughout the State. Data were linked from the multiple sources, and the linked database was used to identify and assess variables predictive of maltreatment-related mortality. The study results also support previous research findings that captured risk-factor information on the birth certificate related to prediction of maltreatment-related mortality. The two most important risk variables reported on the birth certificate are lack of a father's name on the birth certificate and additional children. When combined with other identified risk factors, lack of a father's name on the birth certificate increased maltreatment mortality risk 79-fold compared to children with none of the identified risk factors. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 24 references


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