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Child Abuse Negl. 2007 Sep;31(9):1001-11. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Physical violence and psychological aggression towards children: five-year trends in practices and attitudes from two population surveys.

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Département de psychoéducation et psychologie, Université du Québec en Outaouais, C.P. 1250, Succ. Hull, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 3X7, Canada.



To present prevalence rates of child psychological aggression and physical violence from a population survey conducted in 2004 and to compare the rates with the rates obtained in the 1999 edition of the survey.


The survey used a randomly generated telephone number methodology. Interviews were conducted using a computer-assisted telephone interview system with a representative sample of 3,148 mothers living in Quebec province, Canada. Responses relating to psychological aggression, minor and severe physical violence were collected using the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales.


Eighty percent of the mothers reported the use of psychological aggression towards a child by an adult living in the household, 43% reported at least one episode of minor violence, and 6% reported at least one episode of severe physical violence. When compared to the 1999 surveys, mothers reported 5% less minor physical violence in 2004, a result that is counterbalanced by a similar significant increase in the report of repeated psychological violence towards children in a year. Results also reveal a significant decrease in attitudes favoring the use of violence for discipline purpose between 2004 and 1999.


The trends observed in violence towards children over the 5-year period may partly be attributed to a change in mother's attitudes concerning methods of disciplining children. Findings support the need to promote alternative methods of firm discipline that do not involve violence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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