Hostname: page-component-546b4f848f-sw5dq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-01T00:30:12.480Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Individual, family, and culture level contributions to child physical abuse and neglect: A longitudinal study in nine countries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2015

Jennifer E. Lansford*
Duke University
Jennifer Godwin
Duke University
Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado
Universidad San Buenaventura
Arnaldo Zelli
University of Rome Foro Italico
Suha M. Al-Hassan
Hashemite University and Emirates College for Advanced Education
Dario Bacchini
Second University of Naples
Anna Silvia Bombi
Università di Roma La Sapienza
Marc H. Bornstein
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Lei Chang
Hong Kong Institute of Education
Kirby Deater-Deckard
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Laura Di Giunta
Università di Roma La Sapienza
Kenneth A. Dodge
Duke University
Patrick S. Malone
Duke University
Paul Oburu
Maseno University
Concetta Pastorelli
Università di Roma La Sapienza
Ann T. Skinner
Duke University
Emma Sorbring
University West, Trollhättan
Sombat Tapanya
Chiang Mai University
Liane Peña Alampay
Ateneo de Manila University
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennifer E. Lansford, Duke University, Center for Child and Family Policy, Box 90545, Durham, NC 27708; E-mail:


This study advances understanding of predictors of child abuse and neglect at multiple levels of influence. Mothers, fathers, and children (N = 1,418 families, M age of children = 8.29 years) were interviewed annually in three waves in 13 cultural groups in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Multilevel models were estimated to examine predictors of (a) within-family differences across the three time points, (b) between-family within-culture differences, and (c) between-cultural group differences in mothers' and fathers' reports of corporal punishment and children's reports of their parents' neglect. These analyses addressed to what extent mothers' and fathers' use of corporal punishment and children's perceptions of their parents' neglect were predicted by parents' belief in the necessity of using corporal punishment, parents' perception of the normativeness of corporal punishment in their community, parents' progressive parenting attitudes, parents' endorsement of aggression, parents' education, children's externalizing problems, and children's internalizing problems at each of the three levels. Individual-level predictors (especially child externalizing behaviors) as well as cultural-level predictors (especially normativeness of corporal punishment in the community) predicted corporal punishment and neglect. Findings are framed in an international context that considers how abuse and neglect are defined by the global community and how countries have attempted to prevent abuse and neglect.

Regular Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Integrative guide to the 1991 CBCL/4–18, YSR, and TRF Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
Alampay, L. P., & Jocson, R. M. (2011). Attributions and attitudes of mothers and fathers in the Philippines. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11, 163176. doi:10.1080/15295192.2011.585564 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Alizadeh, H., Applequist, K. F., & Coolidge, F. L. (2007). Parental self-confidence, parenting styles, and corporal punishment in families of ADHD children in Iran. Child Abuse and Neglect, 31, 567572. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2006.12.005 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Allareddy, V., Asad, R., Lee, M. K., Nalliah, R. P., Rampa, S., Speicher, D. G., et al. (2014). Hospital based emergency department visits attributed to child physical abuse in United States: Predictors of in-hospital mortality. PLOS ONE, 9, e100110. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100110 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Berlin, L. J., Dodge, K. A., & Reznick, J. S. (2013). Examining pregnant women's hostile attributions about infants as a predictor of offspring maltreatment. JAMA Pediatrics, 167, 549553. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.1212 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bolger, K. E., & Patterson, C. J. (2001). Pathways from child maltreatment to internalizing problems: Perceptions of control as mediators and moderators. Development and Psychopathology, 13, 913940.Google ScholarPubMed
Chang, L., Chen, B.-B., & Ji, L. Q. (2011). Parenting attributions and attitudes of mothers and fathers in China. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11, 102115. doi:10.1080/15295192.2011.585553 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chavis, A., Hudnut-Beumler, J., Webb, M. W., Neely, J. A., Bickman, L., Dietrich, M. S., et al. (2013). A brief intervention affects parents’ attitudes toward using less physical punishment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 37, 11921201. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.06.003 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Durrant, J. E. (1999). Evaluating the success of Sweden's corporal punishment ban. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, 435448. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(99)00021-6 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., & Hamby, S. L. (2009). Violence, abuse, and crime exposure in a national sample of children and youth. Pediatrics, 124, 114. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-0467 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539579. doi:10.1037//0033-2909.128.4.539 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 175. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Higgins, D. J., & McCabe, M. P. (2001). Multiple forms of child abuse and neglect: Adult retrospective reports. Aggression & Violent Behavior, 6, 547578. doi:10.1016/S1359-1789(00)00030-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoffman, L., & Stawski, R. S. (2009). Persons as contexts: Evaluating between-person and within-person effects in longitudinal analysis. Research in Human Development, 6, 97120. doi:10.1080/15427600902911189 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huang, L., Malone, P. S., Lansford, J. E., Deater-Deckard, K., Di Giunta, L., Bombi, A. S., et al. (2012). Measurement invariance of mother reports of discipline in different cultural contexts. Family Science, 2, 212219. doi:10.1080/19424620.2011.655997 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Huesmann, L. R., & Guerra, N. G. (1997). Children's normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 408419. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.72.2.408 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Knutson, J. F., DeGarmo, D., Koeppl, G., & Reid, J. B. (2005). Care neglect, supervisory neglect, and harsh parenting in the development of children's aggression: A replication and extension. Child Maltreatment, 10, 92107. doi:10.1177/1077559504273684 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Korbin, J. E., & Spilsbury, C. E. (1999). Cultural competence and child neglect. In Dubowitz, H. (Ed.), Neglected children: Research, practice, and policy (pp. 6988). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lansford, J. E., Alampay, L., Al-Hassan, S., Bacchini, D., Bombi, A. S., Bornstein, M. H., et al. (2010). Corporal punishment of children in nine countries as a function of child gender and parent gender. International Journal of Pediatrics, 2010, 112. doi:10.1155/2010/672780 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lansford, J. E., & Bornstein, M. H. (2007). Review of parenting programs in developing countries. New York: UNICEF.Google Scholar
Lansford, J. E., Chang, L., Dodge, K. A., Malone, P. S., Oburu, P., Palmérus, K., et al. (2005). Physical discipline and children's adjustment: Cultural normativeness as a moderator. Child Development, 76, 12341246. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00847.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lansford, J. E., Criss, M. M., Laird, R. D., Shaw, D. S., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., et al. (2011). Reciprocal relations between parents’ physical discipline and children's externalizing behavior during middle childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 225238. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000751 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lansford, J. E., & Deater-Deckard, K. (2012). Childrearing discipline and violence in developing countries. Child Development, 83, 6275. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01676.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lansford, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (2008). Cultural norms for adult corporal punishment of children and societal rates of endorsement and use of violence. Parenting: Science and Practice, 8, 257270. doi:10.1080/15295190802204843 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lansford, J. E., Wager, L. B., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & Dodge, K. A. (2012). Forms of spanking and children's externalizing behaviors. Family Relations, 61, 224236. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2011.00700.x CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lansford, J. E., Woodlief, D., Malone, P. S., Oburu, P., Pastorelli, C., Skinner, A. T., et al. (2014). A longitudinal examination of mothers’ and fathers’ social information processing biases and harsh discipline in nine countries. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 561573. doi:10.1017/S0954579414000236 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
LeVine, R. A., Dixon, S., LeVine, S., Richman, A., Leiderman, P. H., Keefer, C. H., et al. (1994). Child care and culture: Lessons from Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lytton, H. (1990). Child and parent effects in boys’ conduct disorder: A reinterpretation. Developmental Psychology, 26, 683697. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.26.5.683 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nisbett, R. E., & Cohen, D. (1996). Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Patterson, G. R. (2002). The early development of coercive family process. In Reid, J. B., Patterson, G. R., & Snyder, J. (Eds.), Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: A developmental analysis and model for intervention (pp. 2544). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rohner, R. P. (1986). The warmth dimension: Foundations of parental acceptance-rejection theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
Rohner, R. P. (2005). Parental Acceptance–Rejection/Control Questionnaire (PARQ/Control): Test manual. In Rohner, R. P. & Khaleque, A. (Eds.), Handbook for the study of parental acceptance and rejection (4th ed., pp. 137186). Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection.Google Scholar
Russa, M. B., & Rodriguez, C. M. (2010). Physical discipline, escalation, and child abuse potential: Psychometric evidence for the Analog Parenting Task. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 251260. doi:10.1002/ab.20345 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schaefer, E. S., & Edgerton, M. (1985). Parent and child correlates of parental modernity. In Sigel, I. E. (Ed.), Parental belief systems: Psychological consequences for children (pp. 287318). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Sedlak, A. J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., et al. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4): Report to Congress, executive summary. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.Google Scholar
Stevens, T. N., Ruggiero, K. J., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., & Saunders, B. E. (2005). Variables differentiating singly and multiply victimized youth: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents and implications for secondary prevention. Child Maltreatment, 10, 211223. doi:10.1177/1077559505274675 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
UNICEF. (2012). Child maltreatment: Prevalence, incidence and consequences in the East Asia and Pacific Region: A systematic review of research. Bangkok: Author.Google Scholar
UNICEF Division of Policy and Planning. (2006). Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey manual 2005: Monitoring the situation of children and women. New York: Author.Google Scholar
US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. (2007). Child maltreatment 2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google ScholarPubMed
US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau. (2013). Child maltreatment 2012. Retrieved from Google ScholarPubMed
Whipple, E. E., & Webster-Stratton, C. (1991). The role of parental stress in physically abusive families. Child Abuse and Neglect, 15, 279291. doi:10.1016/0145-2134(91)90072-L CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wood, J. N., Medina, S. P., Feudtner, C., Luan, X., Localio, R., Fieldston, E. S., et al. (2012). Local macroeconomic trends and hospital admissions for child abuse, 2000–2009. Pediatrics, 130, e358e364. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3755 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ziegert, K. A. (1983). The Swedish prohibition of corporal punishment: A preliminary report. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 45, 917926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zolotor, A. J., & Puzia, M. E. (2010). Bans against corporal punishment: A systematic review of the laws, changes in attitudes and behaviours. Child Abuse Review, 19, 229247. doi:10.1002/car.1131 CrossRefGoogle Scholar