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Does War Contribute to Family Violence Against Children? Findings From a Two-Generational Multi-Informant Study in Northern Uganda

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 135-146
Regina Saile; Verena Erti; Frank Neuner; Claudia Catani
Date Published
January 2014
12 pages
This study examined whether 20 years of civil war in Northern Uganda contributed to post-conflict child abuse within Ugandan families.
The study found that in the context of organized violence (war in this case), an intergenerational cycle of violence persists, exacerbated by female guardians' re-victimization experiences and male guardians' psychopathological symptoms. The following factors were determined to be the strongest predictors of child abuse in post-conflict Uganda: guardians' own experiences of childhood maltreatment; female guardians' victimization experiences in their intimate relationships; male guardians' posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms; and alcohol-related problems. Factors with a less powerful but significant impact on child abuse were female guardians' history of childhood victimization and female guardians' exposure to traumatic war events. Using a two-generation design, researchers interviewed 368 children, 365 female guardians, and 304 male guardians from 7 war-affected rural communities in Northern Uganda. The Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale determined guardians' self-reported acts of psychological and physical aggression in various situations with her child. A 31-item checklist measured adverse experiences that children encountered at home; and guardians' own childhood experiences of familial violence were measured. Other measures determined trauma exposure, partner violence, PTSD and depression in guardians, and guardians' alcohol abuse. 5 tables, 1 figure, and 64 references