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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.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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