Perpetrators of abusive head trauma: a comparison of two geographic populations

South Med J. 2000 May;93(5):463-5.


Background: Abusive head trauma accounts for significant morbidity and mortality in infants. We compared a Southern population of victims with those in a previous study of a Western population, which found that men, particularly fathers and mothers' boyfriends, are the most common perpetrators.

Methods: All cases of child abuse identified in a teaching hospital were prospectively reviewed for cases of abusive head trauma, and the perpetrators were identified.

Results: Of the 76 cases of head trauma identified, 27 met the criteria for the study. The demographics of the perpetrators closely match those of the Western group. Men are the predominant perpetrators, with fathers committing 45% and boyfriends 25% of these injuries.

Conclusions: Despite the differences in study design and population demographics, men are the most common perpetrators of abusive head trauma in both populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child Abuse* / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse* / mortality
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology
  • Male
  • Men*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Survival Rate
  • Tennessee / epidemiology
  • Women