Association between Physical Abuse, Physical Neglect and Health Risk Behaviours among Young Adolescents: Results from the National Study
OBJECTIVES: One of the main objectives of this paper is to analyze the associations between physical abuse and neglect and health risk behaviours among young adolescents in the country.
METHOD: A representative sample consisted of total 1277 students (58.6% female and 41.6%), aged 18 and above. About 664 of them are in last (fourth) year of secondary school and 613 respondents are first- and second-year university students. The data were obtained using Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Questionnaires (Family Health History Questionnaire) for collecting information on child maltreatment, household dysfunction and other socio-behavioural factors, applying WHO/CDC-recommended methodology. Statistical significance was set up at p<0.05.
RESULTS: Physical abuse (21.1%) and physical neglect (20%) were reported with similar prevalence rates. Disciplining children by spanking or corporal punishment was presented with very high rate of 72.4%.CONCLUSION: The results demonstrated a relationship between physical abuse and later manifestation of health risk behaviours such as: smoking and early pregnancy. Physical neglect increased the chances for drug abuse, drink-driving, having early sex, having more sexual partners.
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