Profiles of abuse and neglect and the association with mental health indicators among a large sample of boys and girls from India

Kathryn Sharratt, Anne Panicker, Rukmini Banerjee, Sam Mason, Adele Jones, Bhanu Varma, Prarthana Patil, Nadia Wager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Child abuse and neglect (CAN) is a major public health concern, but limited data are available on the occurrence, co-occurrence, and correlates of these phenomena outside Western societies.
Objectives: The first aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of CAN across two settings (inside and outside the home) among children and adolescents in Mumbai, India. Another aim was to use latent class analysis (LCA) to identify meaningful profiles of maltreatment, and to examine how class membership is associated with mental wellbeing.
Participants and setting: Self-report data was collected from males (n = 4,454; M age = 12.77 years) and females (n = 3,850; M age = 12.87) at secondary schools.
Results: Four latent classes of maltreatment were identified among males, including ‘low victimisation’ (50.4% of participants), ‘intra-familial non-sexual abuse’ (34.6%), ‘intra- and extra- familial non-sexual abuse’ (10.2%), and ‘poly-victimisation’ (4.8%). Among females, three latent classes were identified including, ‘low victimisation’ (68.1%), ‘intra-familial non-sexual abuse’ (28.8%), and ‘poly-victimisation’ (3.0%). Compared to the ‘low victimisation’ class, children in the abuse classes demonstrated higher levels of anxiety and depression and increased odds of self-injurious thoughts and behaviours. These associations were augmented for girls relative to boys.
Conclusion: There were very few maltreated children who were subjected to just one form of CAN and experiencing co-occurring patterns of abuse and neglect was associated with indicators of poor mental health, especially among girls. These findings highlight the complexity of the situation and will inform policy makers, health professionals and school counsellors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105354
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume122
Early online date8 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Oct 2021

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