The relationship between parental physical availability and child sexual, physical and emotional abuse: a study among a sample of university students in South Africa

Scand J Psychol. 2003 Sep;44(4):311-8. doi: 10.1111/1467-9450.00350.

Abstract

The relationship between perceived parental physical availability and child sexual, physical and emotional abuse was investigated. The sample comprised 722 undergraduate students of psychology at the University of the North, South Africa. Participants filled in a retrospective self-rated questionnaire in a classroom setting. The questionnaire asked about perceived parental physical availability during childhood, and childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Logistic regression analysis showed that, among all the participants, the factors "the participant not living with the natural (biological) mother until he or she was at least 16 years old" and "have ever had a stepfather or adoptive father until he or she was at least 16 years old" predicted child sexual abuse; and "have ever had a stepfather or adoptive father until he or she was at least 16 years old" predicted child emotional abuse. None of the other aspects of parental availability considered predicted child physical abuse. Mental health and social workers, educators and law enforcement agencies dealing with prevention and protection against child abuse should take note of the above identified predictors while designing programs for the eradication of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting*
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires