Child abuse is a significant problem within our society. In 2010, there were approximately 1,560 fatalities as a result of child abuse; 17.6% of those deaths were the direct result of physical abuse and 80% occurred in children under the age of 4. There is a dearth of research examining severe physical abuse among children and, as a result, the demographics of this population are unclear as are the psychological referrals and services provided to these children. The aims of the current study are to identify the demographic characteristics of child victims of non-accidental trauma (NAT, i.e. physical abuse) as well as examine the psychological services provided to these children in the hospital and at discharge. The current sample included 743 children who were admitted to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital after suffering NAT. The majority of NAT patients were under the age of 5 (96%), and of Caucasian (39.4%), Latino (38.8%) or African American (16.9%) decent. Consultations, referrals and recommendations for psychological services were minimal. While in the hospital, less than two percent of the children and families in this sample received a Psychiatry consultation and less than three percent were seen by Psychology consultation services. Upon discharge, only 3 children (0.4%) were documented to have been referred directly for psychological services. The implications of this study show the great need for a medical system of care which ensures that children with NAT receive psychological treatment as very few of these children received psychological interventions during their initial admission when intervention is felt to be most beneficial.

LLU Discipline





School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Neece, Cameron L.

Second Advisor

Tagge, Edward

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Child Abuse - Therapy; Child Advocacy; Child Welfare; Psychology - Social

Subject - Local

Physical Abuse; Psychological Referrals; Non-accidental Trauma; Psychological Interventions


Doctoral Project

Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives