The Intersection of School Corporal Punishment and Associated Factors: Baseline results from a randomized controlled trial in Pakistan

Violence against youth is a global issue; one form of youth victimization is school corporal punishment. This study used baseline assessments from a cluster randomized controlled trial to examine the prevalence of school corporal punishment, by gender, and the relationship to levels of peer violence at school, parent corporal punishment, youth food security and youth academic performance and school attendance in Pakistan. Forty homogenous public schools in the urban city of Hyderabad, Pakistan were chosen for randomization into the trial evaluating a youth violence prevention intervention. 1752 6th graders, age 11–14 years, were selected as the target population.

Since schools are segregated by gender in Pakistan, data are from interviews in 20 boys’ schools and 20 girls’ schools. Overall, 91.4% of boys and 60.9% of girls reported corporal punishment at school in the previous 4 weeks and 60.3% of boys had been physically punished at home in the past 4 weeks compared to 37.1% of girls. Structural equation modeling revealed one direct pathway for both boys and girls from food insecurity to corporal punishment at school while indirect pathways were mediated by depression, the number of days missed from school and school performance and for boys also by engagement in peer violence. Exposure to corporal punishment in school and from parents differs by gender, but in both boys and girls poverty in the form of food insecurity was an important risk factor, with the result that poorer children are victimized more by adults.

Published 2018-12-22