Physical abuse in Canadian runaway adolescents

Child Abuse Negl. 1995 Apr;19(4):433-47. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(95)00007-u.


Recent studies with Canadian runaway youth have questioned the prevalence of abuse experienced by teenaged runaways and the causal contribution of such abuse to runaway experiences (Kufeldt, Duriux, Nimmo, & McDonald, 1992; Kufeldt, & Perry, 1989). This is a descriptive investigation of the physical abuse experienced in a sample of 195 Canadian adolescent runaways: the occurrence, nature and frequency of abuse, the age of onset and duration of abuse, the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator(s), and, who, if anyone, knew of the abuse. This investigation compared and contrasted the physical abuse experienced prior and subsequent to runaway experiences. In this sample, 86% of the population (74% of the males and 90% of the females) reported at least one physically abusive experience. The data reported suggest that this population of adolescents have been the victims of chronic, extreme abuse, experienced at a young age, often perpetrated by the biological parent (most often the mother), and was initiated prior to the first runaway episode. Female runaways were at greater risk than males for all types of abuse experience. Once youths left home, the physical abuse experiences decreased in frequency, but grew in severity, particularly for males.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Homeless Youth / psychology
  • Homeless Youth / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires