Ethnic identity and exposure to maltreatment in childhood: Evidence from a New Zealand birth cohort

Dannette Marie, David M Fergusson, Joseph M Boden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Exposure to maltreatment in childhood, including sexual abuse, severe physical punishment and inter-parental violence, is an issue of growing concern in New Zealand. The present study examined the associations between ethnic identity and exposure to childhood maltreatment among a longitudinal birth cohort of individuals born in Christchurch in 1977. Participants of Maori ethnicity reported higher rates of exposure to physical punishment and inter-parental violence, but did not report higher rates of exposure to sexual abuse. Control for a range of socio-economic and family functioning factors reduced the magnitude of the associations between ethnicity and both physical punishment and inter-parental violence, but did not fully account for the associations between ethnicity and maltreatment exposure. Furthermore, adjustment for variations in Maori cultural identity indicated that cohort members of sole Maori identity were at significantly increased risk of exposure to both physical punishment and inter-parental violence. It was concluded that Maori, and in particular those of sole Maori cultural identity, were at higher risk of exposure to physical punishment and inter-parental violence, and that the associations could not be fully explained by either socio-economic deprivation or exposure to family dysfunction in childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-171
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Policy Journal of New Zealand
Volume36
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

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