Physical abuse, psychological abuse and neglect: Evidence of alcohol-related harm to children in five states of India

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2016 Sep;35(5):530-8. doi: 10.1111/dar.12377. Epub 2016 Feb 24.


Introduction and aims: In India, alcohol consumption per capita has increased in recent years, and child maltreatment is highly prevalent. We assess alcohol-related harms to children, including physical abuse, psychological abuse and neglect, and correlates for men reporting these harms.

Design and methods: We analysed data from household interviews collected in a cross-sectional, case-control study in five Indian states (n = 5026). Data were collected from October 2011 to May 2012. Using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression, we examined male adult's reports of five types of alcohol-related harm to children (respondents were not necessarily the perpetrators of the harms) and respondents' drinking patterns and socio-demographic characteristics associated with the reporting of these harms.

Results: In this sample, 43.2% of the men reported at least one alcohol-related harm to children in the past year; among them, 61.6% reported multiple. Among all men, 15.7% reported that a child experienced physical abuse from adults' drinking. Adjusting for respondents' drinking pattern and socio-demographics, multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression showed that living in a rural area was associated with greater odds of reporting alcohol-related physical abuse, psychological harm and neglect to children. Compared with past-year abstainers, both non-heavy episodic and heavy episodic drinkers had significantly greater odds of reporting these harms. We found significant differences in the reporting of harms by location.

Discussion and conclusions: This study suggests that adults' drinking is associated with physical and psychological abuse and neglect to children. Greater use of evidence-based alcohol policy interventions may help reduce alcohol-related harms to children in India. [Esser MB, Rao GN, Gururaj G, Murthy P, Jayarajan D, Sethu L, Jernigan DH, Benegal V, Collaborators Group on Epidemiological Study of Patterns and Consequences of Alcohol Misuse in India. Physical abuse, psychological abuse and neglect: Evidence of alcohol-related harm to children in five states of India. Drug Alcohol Rev 2016;35:530-538].

Keywords: alcohol drinking; child maltreatment; prevention; public health; victimisation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Violence / psychology*