Study Finds Correlation Between Birth Injury and Mental Health Risk in AdolescentsA recent study coming out of Sweden’s Public Library of Science found that children who were diagnosed with brachial plexus birth injuries have an increased risk of developing mental health issues as a teen. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden analyzed data on 600,000 Swedish teens, finding that 1,600 with brachial plexus palsy used anti-depressants and medications for mental health issues more frequently than their peers.

Additionally, one of their sub-findings was that kids with these types of birth injuries who are from low-income families have an increased chance of developing mental health issues than their peers from higher-income families. Their overall findings were that teenage girls with brachial plexus injuries from low-income families had the highest risk of developing mental health issues.

Elia Psouni, the lead author of the study and associate professor of development psychology at Lund University, told PsychCentral, “Coming from a family with low socioeconomic status is a high risk in itself. If you are also a girl, the risk that you will suffer from poor mental health is more than twice as high than if you are a boy from a wealthy family.”

Studies have shown that a child’s socioeconomic background can impact whether or not they develop a mental illness. A 2012 study from The American Journal of Public Health reported that this link between mental health disorders and socioeconomic background could be driven by perceived social status. They also noted that children from low-income households may also receive less emotional support and have less access to social services.

Psouni also posited that “it has to do with trauma and discrimination on many levels,” and added, “In my previous research, I have seen how the experiences and consequences of school-related stress are greater in girls than in boys.”

The impact of birth injury

A common birth injury, brachial plexus injuries affect the ability of an infant to flex or rotate his or her arm. This injury typically happens when the baby’s arm is forcefully pulled or stretched during delivery. Brachial plexus injury usually heals on its own within a few weeks or months, but for some children it causes permanent nerve damage. There are times when birth injuries are unavoidable, but sometimes they occur due to negligence or medical malpractice.

Psouni hopes that her study will bring awareness to the long-term effects of brachial plexus birth injuries, and prepare families and children with these types of injuries when it comes to mental health care in their teens. Her goal is that “children will continue to receive help, even after the physical injury has been treated, by a professional team working closely with the patient.”

Did your child suffer a birth injury, like brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy? The North Dakota birth injury lawyers at Larson Law Firm, P.C. can help hold the negligent medical professionals responsible. Contact our legal team today at 701-484-4878, or use our contact form to schedule a consultation at our office in Minot.