Collective value of Abiriwatia and protective informal social control of child neglect: Findings from a Nationally Representative Survey in Ghana

Alhassan Abdullah, Lucy P. Jordan, Shuang Lu, Clifton R. Emery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evidence of the protective role of informal social control by community members (family members, friends, and neighbours) in child neglect has received considerable attention. Likewise, the protective effects of informal social control interventions in neglect are theorised to be common and highly efficacious in communities that have sanctioned informal interventions through collective social values and norms. Yet, no research has examined this theoretical postulation within the field of community/neighbourhood research in child maltreatment. We tested the theory-driven hypothesis by examining the interaction effects of protective informal social control of neglect and the collective value of Abiriwatia (a collective value based on lineage with norms on collective childcare duties) against the frequency of child neglect. Data consist of 616 caregivers' self-report of child neglect in the past year, from the Ghana Families and Neighbourhood Study. Hypotheses were tested using random effects regression models with standard errors corrected for settlement/community clusters. Protective informal social control of child neglect was significantly associated with fewer neglect in the past year (B = −0.79, p < 0.05). The interaction between protective informal social control of child neglect and the collective value of Abiriwatia was negative (B = −0.07, p < 0.05). The findings suggest that strengthening the collective normative commitment to childcare would promote family members' intervention to protect against neglect situations, and their intervention can deter further acts of neglect. Community neglect prevention programmes should take advantage of the findings to strengthen community norms that sanction collective childcare duties. Community child protection committees of the Department of Social Welfare should develop social groups and informal associations to strengthen Abiriwatia in Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e5745-e5754
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume30
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Abiriwatia
  • child neglect
  • collective value
  • Ghana
  • informal social control of neglect

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