Risk factors and health consequences of physical and emotional violence against children in Zimbabwe: A nationally representative survey

Handrick Chigiji, Deborah Fry, Tinashe Enock Mwadiwa, Noriko Izumi, Line Baago-Rasmussen, Mary Catherine Maternowska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: This study provides, for the first time, comparable national population-based estimates that describe the nature and magnitude of physical and emotional violence during childhood in Zimbabwe.

Methods: From August to September 2011, we conducted a national, population-based survey of 2,410 respondents aged 13 to 24 years, utilising a two-stage cluster sampling. Regression models were adjusted for relevant demographics to estimate the odds ratios for associations between violence, risk factors and various health-related outcomes.

Results: Respondents aged 18-24 years report a lifetime prevalence (before the age of 18) of 63.9% (among females) to 76% (among males) for physical violence by a parent or adult relative, 12.6% (females) to 26.4% (males) for humiliation in front of others, and 17.3% (females) to 17.5% (males) for feeling unwanted. Almost 50% of either sex aged 13-17 years experienced physical violence in the 12 months preceding the survey. Significant risk factors for experiencing physical violence for girls are ever experiencing emotional abuse prior to age 13, adult illness in the home, socio-economic status and age. Boys’ risk factors include peer relationships and socio-economic status while caring teachers and trusted community members are protective factors. Risk factors for emotional abuse vary including family relationships, teacher and school level variables, socio-economic status and community trust and security. Emotional abuse is associated with increased suicide attempts for both boys and girls, among other health outcomes.

Conclusion: Physical and emotional violence often work in tandem causing poor mental and physical health outcomes. Understanding risk factors for violence within the peer or family context is essential for improved violence prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000533
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume3
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018

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