Background: Prevalence rates of child maltreatment (CM) can differ substantially between countries and ethnicities. Reasons, however, are complex and not sufficiently understood.
Method: This epidemiological study examined prevalence and risk factors of various types of CM in a population-based representative sample of native and immigrant adolescents in Switzerland (N = 6,787).
Results: The prevalence of CM in general was lowest in the native group, higher in the Western immigrant group, and highest in the non-Western immigrant groups. An immigrant background was related to an overrepresentation of several risk factors for CM. Adjusted odds ratio of an immigrant background were still significant for physical and emotional abuse but not for neglect and sexual assault.
Conclusions: Differences in the prevalence of CM across ethnographic origins are at least partially related to socioeconomic and ecologic risk factors. The distribution of risk factors may vary depending on the contexts of migration.
Keywords: adolescents; child maltreatment; epidemiology; immigrant families; neglect; sociocultural factors.
© The Author(s) 2015.