A national survey of childhood physical abuse among females in Swaziland
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A national survey of childhood physical abuse among females in Swaziland
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Epidemiol Glob Health
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    Objective This study describes the scope and characteristics of childhood physical abuse in a nationally representative sample of 13–24 year-old females in Swaziland. The current study also examined health consequences and risk factors of childhood physical abuse. Methods The study utilized a two-stage cluster sampling design in order to conduct the household survey. Retrospective reports of childhood physical abuse and relevant risk factors were collected from 1292 females. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models examined associations between childhood physical abuse and both health consequences and risk factors. Results Nearly 1 in 5 females in Swaziland has experienced childhood physical abuse in their lifetime, with nearly 1 in 20 having experienced abuse that was so severe that it required medical attention. A number of risk factors for lifetime childhood physical abuse were identified including: maternal death prior to age 13; having lived with three or more families during their childhood; and having experienced emotional abuse prior to age 13. Conclusions Preventing childhood physical abuse in Swaziland may be addressed through: promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and their caretakers; addressing social norms that contribute to harsh physical punishment; and addressing underlying stressors associated with severe social and economic disadvantage.
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