Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Child Abuse: The not-really-all-that-shocking truth

Imagine you read an article that began like this:

“A reckoning is coming in gerontology. New studies show that when a group of 95-year-olds is followed for five years, a greater proportion die than when they are followed for only one.”

You’d probably think it was a story from The Onion. You’d probably think the same if you read a story saying that people followed for five years, versus those followed for only one, are more likely to catch cold, fall in love, get in an auto accident, take a dream vacation, or discover the presence of gambling at a certain café in Casablanca.

And yet we are supposed to be shocked – shocked! – when a study that follows children for five years finds more of what authorities define as abuse and neglect than studies focusing on a single year.