Children in the U.S. whose activity choices, interests, and pretend play before age 11 fall outside those typically expressed by their biological sex face increased risk of being physically, psychologically, and sexually abused, and of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by early adulthood, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). It is the first study to use a population-based sample to look at gender nonconformity as a risk factor for abuse.The study was published online Feb. 20 and will appear in the March 2012 print issue of Pediatrics.Parents need to be aware that discrimination against gender nonconformity affects one in 10 kids, affects kids at a very young age, and has lasting impacts on health. — Andrea Roberts“The abuse we examined was mostly perpetrated by parents or other adults in the home. Parents need to be aware that discrimination against gender nonconformity affects one in 10 kids, affects kids at a very young age, and has lasting impacts on health,” said lead author Andrea Roberts, a research associate in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH.PTSD has been linked to risky behavior such as engaging in unprotected sex, and also to physical symptoms such as cardiovascular problems and chronic pain.The researchers, led by Roberts and senior author S. Bryn Austin, associate professor in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH, and in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, examined questionnaire data gathered from nearly 9,000 young adults (average age 23) who enrolled in the longitudinal Growing Up Today study in 1996. Respondents were asked in 2007 to recall their childhood experiences, including favorite toys and games, roles they took while playing, media characters they imitated or admired, and feelings of femininity and masculinity. They also were asked about physical, sexual, or emotional abuse they experienced and were screened for PTSD.Men who ranked in the top 10th percentile of childhood gender-nonconformity reported a higher prevalence of sexual and physical abuse before age 11 and psychological abuse between ages 11 and 17 compared with those below the median of nonconformity. Women in the top 10th percent reported a higher prevalence of all forms of abuse as children compared with those below the median of nonconformity. Rates of PTSD were almost twice as high among young adults who were gender nonconforming in childhood than among those who were not.The researchers also found that most children who were gender nonconforming were heterosexual in adulthood (85 percent), a finding reported for the first time in this study. “Our findings suggest that most of the intolerance toward gender nonconformity in children is targeted toward heterosexuals,” said Roberts.More research is needed to understand why gender nonconforming kids experience greater risk of abuse, and to develop interventions to prevent abuse, the researchers said. They recommend that pediatricians and school health providers consider abuse screening for this vulnerable population.Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health.
More than 300 students, faculty and South Bend citizens laced up their tennis shoes and stretched their legs yesterday morning in preparation for the seventh annual Fr. Ted’s 10K. Melissa Lindley, the race director, said the TRiO Upward Bound Program put on the race. TRiO is a scholarship program at Notre Dame for low-income and first-generation college-bound youth. According to the TRiO website, participants could run a 5K or 10K, decide to do the family fun walk or “fitness” walk. All donations from the race supported TRiO’s students, Lindley said. “Fr. Ted’s 10K is more than just a run … it is an investment in our community,” Lindley said. “I think it’s unique as well because our students are involved in the event, so the runners can see who they are there supporting. Most of us call Notre Dame and South Bend home, and this race funds scholarships for South Bend youth to go to college. These kids are the future of our community.”Sophomore Olivia Fernandes said she ran the race for the second time this year because she loves the cause. “The proceeds go to TRiO Upward Bound in South Bend … I volunteer at a local elementary school here in South Bend, and equality of education is important to me, so the cause really resonates,” Fernandes said. Lindley said University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh brought TRiO programs to Notre Dame in the 1960s as a part of his fight against poverty. She said he used to come speak at the event, but as years have passed he now tapes a video for the participants. She said the race was, however, still well attended and enjoyed. Fernandes said despite bad weather, the race turned out well. “The trail consists of two three-mile laps around campus. The best part of the race is by far the supporters all along the way,” Fernandes said. “It was quite windy, but the high school students’ enthusiasm rocked. Their inspirational signs got me going, and the bagpipes player was legit. Hard not to smile at all the support.” “We were very satisfied with this year’s event … with 300 pre-registered participants and some great personal and corporate sponsorships, we will be able to fund our student scholarships, and that is the number one priority,” Lindley said. “A big thank you to Notre Dame students who consistently come out and support Fr. Ted’s 10K.”Tags: 5K, Hesburgh, run
Rising Sun, IN—Rising Sun Regional Foundation is announcing a change in the submission of grant applications, starting with the January 15, 2020 grant deadline. All applications must be submitted via email to the following email address: [email protected] Grant deadlines remain the same, with the next deadline on January 15, 2020 by 4:00 pm. If you have questions, please email or call Jascia Redwine at RSRF at 812-438-4490.