The exposure of children with and without disabilities to violent parental discipline: Cross-sectional surveys in 17 middle- and low-income countries

Eric Emerson, Gwynnyth Llewellyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Children with disabilities in high-income countries are more likely than their peers to be exposed to violence. To date, only two studies have reported nationally robust data on the association between child disabilities and exposure to violent parental discipline. Objective: To estimate prevalence rates and adjusted rate ratios of exposure to violent parental discipline among children with and without disabilities in middle- and low-income countries. Participants and Setting: Nationally representative samples involving a total of 206,147 children aged 2−14 from 17 countries. Methods: Secondary analysis of data collected in UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Results: Children with disabilities were at significantly greater risk of exposure than children without disabilities to all eight forms of violent parental discipline and the total number of forms they were exposed to. For what could be considered the most abusive form of violent discipline (beating a child up ‘as hard as one could’) they were 71 % more likely to have been exposed in the previous month than other children (age and gender adjusted prevalence rate ratio = 1.71 (95 %CI 1.64−1.78), p < 0.001). Children with functioning difficulties related to poorer mental health or cognitive functioning were at significantly greater risk of exposure to violent parental discipline. In contrast, children with impairments related to sensory functioning, mobility and expressive communication were at no greater risk of exposure than children without disabilities. Conclusions: Children with disabilities are at greater risk of exposure to all forms of violent parental discipline than children without disabilities in middle- and low-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104773
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume111
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Disability
  • Parental discipline
  • Violence

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