This paper presents findings from a pilot study focused on examining intergenerational violence in a three-generation sample, which included young children, in a rural area of South Africa. The aims of the pilot study were to investigate the feasibility of participant recruitment, consent, and interviewing; length and burden of the study questionnaires; appropriateness and acceptability of the measures used; and young children’s (age 4–7) ability to comprehend the measures and participate meaningfully in interviews asking about violence. Data were collected for 4 months with three groups of participants, often within families (young adults, their children, and the young adults’ former caregivers), using cognitive interviews, quantitative questionnaires, and qualitative in-depth interviews. All groups participated in arts-based methods and child interviews included visual and tactile aids. Pilot study findings demonstrated feasible recruitment within families for a three-generation study using comprehensive consent protocols and mandatory reporting information. Adults and young children were able to participate in the extensive interviews (2–3 h and 1 h, respectively) without significant burden. The employed measures were appropriate and acceptable to the setting, though minor revisions were made to improve comprehension of certain items. Young children were able to engage and participate meaningfully in the research, though they were not able to answer abstract reasoning items in cognitive interviews and children who were less developmentally advanced required more play- and arts-based accommodations to support their participation. Future research around sensitive topics, such as violence, appears feasible within families and including young children as participants even in resource-poor settings.
- child abuse
- intergenerational transmission
- young children