Title: Maternal and paternal physical abuse: Unique and joint associations with child behavioral problems.
Authors: Cui, Naixue; Deatrick, Janet A; Liu, Jianghong
Published In Child Abuse Negl, (2018 02)
Abstract: Although there is a substantial amount of literature documenting the relationship between child abuse and behavioral problems in China, there is, on the other hand, a limited number of studies on the joint and unique associations of maternal and paternal physical abuse with child behaviors within the Chinese context. The present study, using the family systems theory as the theoretical framework, aims to examine these joint and the unique associations of maternal and paternal physical abuse with externalizing and internalizing behaviors among a community sample of Chinese children. A total of 296 children (54.7% boys, mean age 12.31±0.56years) from two-parent families participated in the study, and they reported their physical abuse experience by their mother and father in the previous year using the Chinese version of the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale. Participants, using the Youth Self Report, reported personal externalizing and internalizing behaviors, and, similarly, their mothers, using the Child Behavior Checklist, assessed children's externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Linear mixed effect models with random intercept and slope were used to examine the joint and unique associations of maternal and paternal physical abuse with child externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Results revealed that physically abused children were more likely to be simultaneously abused by both mothers and fathers. Furthermore, when compared with their non-abused counterparts, children with physical abuse that was carried out solely by mothers (externalizing behaviors: β=6.71, 95% CI=2.45-10.98, p<0.01; internalizing behaviors: β=4.52, 95% CI=0.37-8.66, p<0.05) or by both mothers and fathers (externalizing behaviors: β=4.52, 95% CI=1.80-7.24, p<0.001; internalizing behaviors: β=2.98, 95% CI=0.34-5.61, p<0.05) reported more externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Externalizing and internalizing behaviors of children who were physically abused solely by fathers did not significantly differ from those of their non-abused counterparts, which may result from the small sample size. The present findings suggest that maternal physical abuse may have a dominant and unique association with child behaviors, regardless of whether paternal physical abuse occurs within the family. Implications for future research and practice within the Chinese context regarding the subject of child behaviors and parental abuse are discussed.
PubMed ID: 28532982
MeSH Terms: Adjustment Disorders/psychology; Adolescent; Adult; Child; Child Abuse/psychology*; Child, Preschool; China; Conflict, Psychological; Family Conflict/psychology; Fathers/psychology; Fathers/statistics & numerical data; Female; Humans; Male; Mothers/psychology; Mothers/statistics & numerical data; Parent-Child Relations; Parents; Physical Abuse/psychology*; Problem Behavior/psychology*; Self Report