Gender Inequity Associated with Increased Child Physical Abuse and Neglect: a Cross-Country Analysis of Population-Based Surveys and Country-Level Statistics
- 549 Downloads
Gender inequity is proposed as a societal-level risk factor for child maltreatment. However, most cross-national research examining this association is limited to developing countries and has used limited measures of gender inequity and child homicides as a proxy for child maltreatment. To examine the relationship between gender inequity and child maltreatment, we used caregivers’ reported use of severe physical punishment (proxy for physical abuse) and children under 5 left alone or under the care of another child younger than 10 years of age (supervisory neglect) and three indices of gender inequity (the Social and Institutional Gender Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Gender Gap Index) from 57 countries, over half of which were developing countries. We found all three gender inequity indices to be significantly associated with physical abuse and two of the three to be significantly associated with neglect, after controlling for country-level development. Based on these findings, efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect might benefit from reducing gender inequity.
KeywordsChild abuse Child neglect Child maltreatment Etiology Cross-national
We thank Ivan Ludlow, Chelsea Austin, and Jacqueline Hurd for their work in identifying data sources.
JK conceptualized the study, collaborated in data collection, conducted the statistical analyses, had full access to all the data in the study, and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. KP contributed to the design of the study, collaborated in data collection, and helped interpret the data. JK and KP contributed to the drafting and revising of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No external funding.
Secondary data analyses; IRB approval not required.
We declare no competing interests.
- Lansford, J. E., Deater-Deckard, K., Bornstein, M. H., Putnick, D. L., & Bradley, R. H. (2014). Attitudes justifying domestic violence predict endorsement of corporal punishment and physical and psychological aggression towards children: A study in 25 low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Pediatrics, 164(5), 1208–1213. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.11.060.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2016). Social institutions and gender index (SIGI) [data set]. Retrieved from: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=GID2.
- Runyan, D., Wattam, C., Ikeda, R., Hassan, F., & Ramiro, L. (2002). Child abuse and neglect bny parents and other caregivers. In E. Krug, L. L. Dahlberg, J. A. Mercy, A. B. Zwi, & R. Lozano (Eds.), World report on violence and health (pp. 59–86). Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
- Stith, S. M., Liu, T., Davies, C., Boykin, E. L., Alder, M. C., Harris, J. M., ... &, Dees, J. E. (2009). Risk factors in child maltreatment: A meta-analytic review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14(1), 13–29. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2006.03.0.
- Stoltenborgh, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., IJzendoorn, M. H., & Alink, L. R. (2013a). Cultural–geographical differences in the occurrence of child physical abuse? A meta-analysis of global prevalence. International Journal of Psychology, 48(2), 81–94. doi: 10.1080/00207594.2012.697165.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- UNICEF (2015). Multiple indicator cluster surveys. New York: United Nations Children's Fund. Retrieved from: http://mics.unicef.org/surveys.
- United Nations Development Program. (2015a). Human development report statistical annex, table 2. Human development index trends. New York, NY: United Nations Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr_2015_statistical_annex.Google Scholar
- United Nations Development Program (2015b). Gender inequality index [data set]. \ Retrieved from: http://hdr.undp.org/en/composite/GII.
- USAID. Demographic and Health Surveys Program (2016). Demographic and health surveys. Rockville: USAID, The DHS Program. Retrieved from: http://www.dhsprogram.com/.
- Viola, T. W., Salum, G. A., Kluwe-Schiavon, B., Sanvicente-Vieira, B., Levandowski, M. L., & Grassi-Oliveira, R. (2016). The influence of geographical and economic factors in estimates of childhood abuse and neglect using the childhood trauma questionnaire: A worldwide meta-regression analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- WHO (2016a). Child Maltreatment Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs150/en/.
- WHO (2016b). INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children. Geneva: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/inspire/en/.
- World Economic Forum (2014). Global Gender Gap Report, 2014: Gender Gap Index [data set]. Retrieved from: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2014/wp-content/blogs.dir/60/mp/files/pages/files/gggr-2014-table-b1.pdf.