Hearing and justice

The link between hearing impairment in early childhood and youth offending in Aboriginal children living in remote communities of the Northern Territory, Australia

Vincent Yaofeng He, Jiunn-Yih Su, Steven Guthridge, Catia Malvaso, Damien Roderick Howard, Tamika Williams, Amanda Leach

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    Abstract

    Background: High prevalence of chronic middle ear disease has persisted in Australian Aboriginal children, and the related hearing impairment (HI) has been implicated in a range of social outcomes. This study investigated the association between HI in early childhood and youth offending.

    Method: This was a retrospective cohort study of 1533 Aboriginal children (born between 1996 and 2001) living in remote Northern Territory communities. The study used linked individual-level information from health, education, child protection and youth justice services. The outcome variable was a youth being “found guilty of an offence”. The key explanatory variable, hearing impairment, was based on audiometric assessment. Other variables were: child maltreatment notifications, Year 7 school enrolment by mother, Year 7 school attendance and community ‘fixed- effects’. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the association between HI and youth offending; and the Royston R2 measure to estimate the separate contributions of risk factors to youth offending.

    Results: The proportion of hearing loss was high in children with records of offence (boys: 55.6%, girls: 36.7%) and those without (boys: 46.1%; girls: 49.0%). In univariate analysis, a higher risk of offending was found among boys with moderate or worse HI (HR: 1.77 [95% CI: 1.05–2.98]) and mild HI (HR: 1.54 [95% CI:1.06–2.23]). This association was attenuated in multivariable analysis (moderate HI, HR: 1.43 [95% CI:0.78–2.62]; mild HI, HR: 1.37 [95% CI: 0.83–2.26]). No evidence for an association was found in girls. HI contributed 3.2% and 6.5% of variation in offending among boys and girls respectively. Factors contributing greater variance included: community ‘fixed-effects’ (boys: 14.6%, girls: 36.5%), child maltreatment notification (boys: 14.2%, girls: 23.9%) and year 7 school attendance (boys: 7.9%; girls 12.1%). Enrolment by mother explained substantial variation for girls (25.4%) but not boys (0.2%).

    Conclusion: There was evidence, in univariate analysis, for an association between HI and youth offending for boys however this association was not evident after controlling for other factors. Our findings highlight a range of risk factors that underpin the pathway to youth-offending, demonstrating the urgent need for interagency collaboration to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children in the Northern Territory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number16
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalHealth and Justice
    Volume7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2019

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    Northern Territory
    hearing impairment
    Social Justice
    Hearing Loss
    Hearing
    justice
    childhood
    community
    school attendance
    maltreatment
    Child Abuse
    offense
    Mothers
    school enrollment
    Ear Diseases
    child protection
    Middle Ear
    Health Education
    Proportional Hazards Models
    evidence

    Cite this

    @article{ebd85d3328944f8588c6db12a3c6561c,
    title = "Hearing and justice: The link between hearing impairment in early childhood and youth offending in Aboriginal children living in remote communities of the Northern Territory, Australia",
    abstract = "Background: High prevalence of chronic middle ear disease has persisted in Australian Aboriginal children, and the related hearing impairment (HI) has been implicated in a range of social outcomes. This study investigated the association between HI in early childhood and youth offending.Method: This was a retrospective cohort study of 1533 Aboriginal children (born between 1996 and 2001) living in remote Northern Territory communities. The study used linked individual-level information from health, education, child protection and youth justice services. The outcome variable was a youth being “found guilty of an offence”. The key explanatory variable, hearing impairment, was based on audiometric assessment. Other variables were: child maltreatment notifications, Year 7 school enrolment by mother, Year 7 school attendance and community ‘fixed- effects’. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the association between HI and youth offending; and the Royston R2 measure to estimate the separate contributions of risk factors to youth offending.Results: The proportion of hearing loss was high in children with records of offence (boys: 55.6{\%}, girls: 36.7{\%}) and those without (boys: 46.1{\%}; girls: 49.0{\%}). In univariate analysis, a higher risk of offending was found among boys with moderate or worse HI (HR: 1.77 [95{\%} CI: 1.05–2.98]) and mild HI (HR: 1.54 [95{\%} CI:1.06–2.23]). This association was attenuated in multivariable analysis (moderate HI, HR: 1.43 [95{\%} CI:0.78–2.62]; mild HI, HR: 1.37 [95{\%} CI: 0.83–2.26]). No evidence for an association was found in girls. HI contributed 3.2{\%} and 6.5{\%} of variation in offending among boys and girls respectively. Factors contributing greater variance included: community ‘fixed-effects’ (boys: 14.6{\%}, girls: 36.5{\%}), child maltreatment notification (boys: 14.2{\%}, girls: 23.9{\%}) and year 7 school attendance (boys: 7.9{\%}; girls 12.1{\%}). Enrolment by mother explained substantial variation for girls (25.4{\%}) but not boys (0.2{\%}).Conclusion: There was evidence, in univariate analysis, for an association between HI and youth offending for boys however this association was not evident after controlling for other factors. Our findings highlight a range of risk factors that underpin the pathway to youth-offending, demonstrating the urgent need for interagency collaboration to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children in the Northern Territory.",
    author = "He, {Vincent Yaofeng} and Jiunn-Yih Su and Steven Guthridge and Catia Malvaso and Howard, {Damien Roderick} and Tamika Williams and Amanda Leach",
    year = "2019",
    month = "10",
    day = "30",
    doi = "10.1186/s40352-019-0097-6",
    language = "English",
    volume = "7",
    pages = "1--12",
    journal = "Health and Justice",
    issn = "2194-7899",
    publisher = "Springer Open",

    }

    Hearing and justice : The link between hearing impairment in early childhood and youth offending in Aboriginal children living in remote communities of the Northern Territory, Australia. / He, Vincent Yaofeng; Su, Jiunn-Yih; Guthridge, Steven; Malvaso, Catia; Howard, Damien Roderick; Williams, Tamika; Leach, Amanda.

    In: Health and Justice, Vol. 7, 16, 30.10.2019, p. 1-12.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Hearing and justice

    T2 - The link between hearing impairment in early childhood and youth offending in Aboriginal children living in remote communities of the Northern Territory, Australia

    AU - He, Vincent Yaofeng

    AU - Su, Jiunn-Yih

    AU - Guthridge, Steven

    AU - Malvaso, Catia

    AU - Howard, Damien Roderick

    AU - Williams, Tamika

    AU - Leach, Amanda

    PY - 2019/10/30

    Y1 - 2019/10/30

    N2 - Background: High prevalence of chronic middle ear disease has persisted in Australian Aboriginal children, and the related hearing impairment (HI) has been implicated in a range of social outcomes. This study investigated the association between HI in early childhood and youth offending.Method: This was a retrospective cohort study of 1533 Aboriginal children (born between 1996 and 2001) living in remote Northern Territory communities. The study used linked individual-level information from health, education, child protection and youth justice services. The outcome variable was a youth being “found guilty of an offence”. The key explanatory variable, hearing impairment, was based on audiometric assessment. Other variables were: child maltreatment notifications, Year 7 school enrolment by mother, Year 7 school attendance and community ‘fixed- effects’. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the association between HI and youth offending; and the Royston R2 measure to estimate the separate contributions of risk factors to youth offending.Results: The proportion of hearing loss was high in children with records of offence (boys: 55.6%, girls: 36.7%) and those without (boys: 46.1%; girls: 49.0%). In univariate analysis, a higher risk of offending was found among boys with moderate or worse HI (HR: 1.77 [95% CI: 1.05–2.98]) and mild HI (HR: 1.54 [95% CI:1.06–2.23]). This association was attenuated in multivariable analysis (moderate HI, HR: 1.43 [95% CI:0.78–2.62]; mild HI, HR: 1.37 [95% CI: 0.83–2.26]). No evidence for an association was found in girls. HI contributed 3.2% and 6.5% of variation in offending among boys and girls respectively. Factors contributing greater variance included: community ‘fixed-effects’ (boys: 14.6%, girls: 36.5%), child maltreatment notification (boys: 14.2%, girls: 23.9%) and year 7 school attendance (boys: 7.9%; girls 12.1%). Enrolment by mother explained substantial variation for girls (25.4%) but not boys (0.2%).Conclusion: There was evidence, in univariate analysis, for an association between HI and youth offending for boys however this association was not evident after controlling for other factors. Our findings highlight a range of risk factors that underpin the pathway to youth-offending, demonstrating the urgent need for interagency collaboration to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children in the Northern Territory.

    AB - Background: High prevalence of chronic middle ear disease has persisted in Australian Aboriginal children, and the related hearing impairment (HI) has been implicated in a range of social outcomes. This study investigated the association between HI in early childhood and youth offending.Method: This was a retrospective cohort study of 1533 Aboriginal children (born between 1996 and 2001) living in remote Northern Territory communities. The study used linked individual-level information from health, education, child protection and youth justice services. The outcome variable was a youth being “found guilty of an offence”. The key explanatory variable, hearing impairment, was based on audiometric assessment. Other variables were: child maltreatment notifications, Year 7 school enrolment by mother, Year 7 school attendance and community ‘fixed- effects’. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the association between HI and youth offending; and the Royston R2 measure to estimate the separate contributions of risk factors to youth offending.Results: The proportion of hearing loss was high in children with records of offence (boys: 55.6%, girls: 36.7%) and those without (boys: 46.1%; girls: 49.0%). In univariate analysis, a higher risk of offending was found among boys with moderate or worse HI (HR: 1.77 [95% CI: 1.05–2.98]) and mild HI (HR: 1.54 [95% CI:1.06–2.23]). This association was attenuated in multivariable analysis (moderate HI, HR: 1.43 [95% CI:0.78–2.62]; mild HI, HR: 1.37 [95% CI: 0.83–2.26]). No evidence for an association was found in girls. HI contributed 3.2% and 6.5% of variation in offending among boys and girls respectively. Factors contributing greater variance included: community ‘fixed-effects’ (boys: 14.6%, girls: 36.5%), child maltreatment notification (boys: 14.2%, girls: 23.9%) and year 7 school attendance (boys: 7.9%; girls 12.1%). Enrolment by mother explained substantial variation for girls (25.4%) but not boys (0.2%).Conclusion: There was evidence, in univariate analysis, for an association between HI and youth offending for boys however this association was not evident after controlling for other factors. Our findings highlight a range of risk factors that underpin the pathway to youth-offending, demonstrating the urgent need for interagency collaboration to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children in the Northern Territory.

    U2 - 10.1186/s40352-019-0097-6

    DO - 10.1186/s40352-019-0097-6

    M3 - Article

    VL - 7

    SP - 1

    EP - 12

    JO - Health and Justice

    JF - Health and Justice

    SN - 2194-7899

    M1 - 16

    ER -