Prevalence and correlates of physical and emotional abuse among late adolescents.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of physical and emotional abuse reported by late adolescent school children in southern Sri Lanka, and to identify demographic and behavioural correlates of such abuse. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey was administered to a sample of 1099 male and 1290 female late adolescents, through schools in the southern province. Self-report anonymous questionnaires were used. Study variables included age, gender, body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status, deliberate self harm, substance use, school absenteeism and family conflicts. RESULTS: Of the total, 22.4% (n = 246) of males and 15.7% (n = 202) of females reported having been subjected to physical abuse at least a few times in the 3 months preceding the survey (p<0.05), and 31.3% (n = 324) of males and 25.4% (n = 328) of females reported having been subjected to emotional abuse at least a few times in the 3 months preceding the survey (p<0.05). Logistic regression analyses revealed that school absenteeism, deliberate self-harm, substance use, and family conflict were associated with physical and emotional abuse. Socio-economic status and BMI were not found to be associated with physical and emotional abuse. CONCLUSION: Physical and emotional abuse are important health issues among late adolescent school children in Sri Lanka. Further research is needed to better understand the causal direction of the associations between physical and emotional abuse experiences, and health-related behaviours.
Perera, B; Ostbye, T; Ariyananda, PL; Lelwala, E
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