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Latest News Around the Web

Study: Recession May Be Taking Toll On Families.

HealthDay (12/16, Goodwin) reports, “The recent recession took a toll on parent-child ties, with parents who were under financial strain reporting that they felt less connected to their kids and kids saying they were less likely to act with generosity,” according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Research on Adolescence. Investigators surveyed “about 500 families in the Seattle area” who “were mostly white, middle- to upper-middle-class and college educated.”

They found that “parents who reported increasing financial pressure were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, according to the study. In turn, depressed parents were more likely to report feeling less connected and less close with their child.”

CDC Issues Report On Sexual Violence In US

NBC Nightly News (12/14, story 5, 0:30, Williams) reported, “We got startling new numbers from the” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “today based on a new survey of domestic violence. One in four women in this country reported being violently attacked by a husband or boyfriend. … One in five women said they have been sexually assaulted.”

The New York Times (12/15, A32, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports that the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey “released on Wednesday affirmed that sexual violence against women remains endemic in the United States and in some instances may be far more common than previously thought. Nearly one in five women surveyed said they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimate partner. One in six women [has] been stalked, according to the report.”

The survey was given to “a nationally representative sample of 16,507 adults” and “elicited information on types of aggression not previously studied in national surveys, including sexual violence other than rape, psychological aggression, coercion and control of reproductive and sexual health.”

HHS Announces Increase In Young Adults With Health Insurance

ABC World News (12/14, story 4, 0:20, Sawyer) reported, “And there was an announcement from the White House today about the President’s healthcare reform. The government said 2.5 million young adults who were uninsured now have received health insurance because of that law, which allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.”

The CBS Evening News (12/14, story 5, 2:30, Pelley) reported, “Patient rights advocates like Ron Pollack of the nonprofit group Families USA call this an accomplishment because young adults will 19-25, are the most likely not to have health insurance.” Ron Pollack, Families USA: “This is a benefit for those people who are struggling to find a job or who are in an entry-level job and they can’t pay for health insurance and now they have the ability to stay on their parents’ policy until their 26th birthday.”

The Wall Street Journal (12/15, Radnofsky, Subscription Publication) quotes HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said, “It shows what a big difference this law is already making in Americans’ lives.” According to Sebelius, without the option for additional coverage, insurance was a major factor in young adults’ career decisions, while others were “a car accident or a surprise diagnosis away from a lifetime of medical debt or worse.”

NIDA Survey Suggests Big Shift In Substance Abuse Among Adolescents

Television and print media provided extensive coverage of a government survey which indicated a change in substance-abuse habits among US adolescents.

NBC Nightly News (12/14, story 6, 1:05, Williams) reported that a study released on Wednesday provides a “new look…at teenage alcohol and drug use. According to this study, there’s been a big shift when it comes to substance abuse among high school-aged kids.”

The CBS Evening News (12/14, story 8, 0:30, Pelley) reported, “Marijuana use among teenagers has gone up four years in a row. In a survey, one out of every 15 high school students admitted using marijuana every day or almost daily. That’s the highest rate in 30 years.”

The Wall Street Journal (12/15, Randall, Subscription Publication) reports that the “Monitoring the Future” survey released Dec. 14 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) also reveals that even as marijuana use is increasing, US adolescents are smoking fewer cigarettes and drinking far less alcohol.

Ask the Doctor: How do I respond to a hospitalized friend?

SAMPLE QUESTION

QUERY:
I have a friend who was hospitalized. When visiting someone who is having a break from reality (“they are trying to get me…”) do I play along with the fantasy or do I correct the person: “No there is no one out there doing that”.

ANSWER:
It is frequently useless to correct the person and tedious to listen endlessly to the repetition of the same fantasy. You can often change the subject to something more immediate, e.g. “Food OK?”, “Making friends?”, “Plans when you leave?”, etc. Patients often are not able to tolerate visitors for very long periods of time during the acute turmoil and it is usually best to keep the visits short until the person reintegrates more and can carry on a conversation. The patient needs to be in control of who they see and when.

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