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Child Abuse Negl. 1999 Jun;23(6):549-57.

Prevalence and correlates of physical abuse in Hong Kong Chinese adolescents: a population-based approach.

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Center for Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Research, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT.



The objectives were to estimate the prevalence and correlates of physical abuse-related outcomes in the family setting in Hong Kong's adolescent population.


A cross-sectional study design was used. A randomly selected sample of 3,355 secondary school students in Kwai Tsing District of Hong Kong was surveyed. The response rate was 98%.


The prevalence rates of corporal punishment, being beaten by parents for no apparent reason, being beaten to injury by family members in the past 3 months and any one of the above three were 4.9% (95% CI, 4.2% to 5.6%), 2.0% (95% CI, 1.5% to 2.5%), 1.1% (95% CI, .98% to 1.2%) and 6.6% (95% CI, 5.7% to 7.5%), respectively. Students who had experienced the above physical abuse-related outcomes were at a significant disadvantage for a wide range of morbidity indicators, including self-perceived bad health, anxiety and stress, somatic illnesses (such as asthma and epigastric pain), injuries and accidents, and hospitalization. They were more likely to have poor familial relations and coping skills, and to take up habits which potentially put their health at risk, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and fighting with others.


Our prevalence estimates of physical abuse in the family setting for a student population in Hong Kong is an improvement over previous local estimates of physical abuse occurrence, which were mainly based on case notifications and clinical samples. The results also show that the abused adolescents are growing up in an environment filled with physical, psychological, and familial adversities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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