Associations between adolescent experiences of violence in Malawi and gender-based attitudes, internalizing, and externalizing behaviors
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Little is known about adolescent exposure to and factors associated with violence in Malawi. The aim of this research was to describe the prevalence of exposure to violence among adolescents in Malawi, and test the hypotheses that such exposures are associated with gender-based violent attitudes, and with internalizing and externalizing problems. In 2014, 561 primary school pupils were interviewed (50% girls), and logistic regression analysis was performed on gender-stratified data, adjusting for sociodemographic differences. Both girls and boys had witnessed domestic violence (28.5% & 29.6%), experienced emotional abuse at home (23.1% & 22.9%), physical abuse at home (28.1% & 30.4%), physical abuse at school (42.4% & 36.4%), and been bullied (33.8% & 39.6%). Among girls, internalized violent attitudes towards women were associated with emotional abuse at home (OR 2.1) and physical abuse at school (OR 1.7). Condoning rape was associated with physical abuse at school (OR 1.9). Bullying perpetration was associated with emotional abuse at home (OR 4.5). Depression was associated with emotional abuse at home (OR 3.8) and physical abuse at school (OR 2.4). Among boys, violent attitudes towards women and condoning rape were not associated with violence exposure. Bullying perpetration was associated with having been a victim of bullying (OR 2.9) and physical abuse at school (OR 2.7). Depression was associated with emotional abuse at home (OR 2.9), domestic violence (OR 2.4) and physical abuse at school (OR 2.5). These findings can inform programs designed to reduce violence victimization among Malawian girls, both in homes and schools.
- Faculty of Humanities