Main Article Content
The traditional theory of abusive head trauma requires scientific scrutiny. Those who question the validity of this theory have been accused of denialism for the purpose of obfuscating evidence in legal settings and supporting abusive caregivers. The traditional theory holds that abusive head trauma results from “shaken baby syndrome”. In reference to abusive head trauma in the absence of external signs of trauma, we argue that it is the child-protection clinicians and concerned researchers who represent denialism. We have identified three types of denialism in this area: (i) denialism of the presence of a scientific controversy; (ii) denialism of relevant scientific distinctions between abusive head trauma cases with versus without external signs of trauma; and (iii) denialism of circular reasoning as a major risk of bias. The analysis discloses that the scientific controversy pertaining to abusive head trauma is real and that it is problematic to lump together all alleged abusive head trauma, with and without external signs of trauma. Further, it has been ignored that circular reasoning results in a high risk of bias. We conclude that denialism preserves rather than promotes scientific developments on abusive head trauma research.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).