Intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment: Predictors of child emotional maltreatment among 11 to 17 years old children residing in communities of Karachi, Pakistan

Maryam Pyar Ali Lakhdir, Apsara Ali Nathwani, Naureen Akber Ali, Salima Farooq, Syed Iqbal Azam, Asif Khaliq, Muhammad Masood Kadir - Child Abuse & Neglect



Families where parents had childhood history of victimization may likely to abuse their children; hence contributing as an important predictor of child emotional maltreatment (CEM). This study aimed to determine the relationship of intergenerational abuse with CEM among 11–17 years old children residing in peri-urban and urban communities of Karachi, Pakistan.


Structured interviews were conducted with 800 children and parents-pair using validated questionnaire “International Child Abuse Screening Tool for Child (ICAST-C)” comprised of 4 domains. Domain of child emotional maltreatment was considered as outcome (CEM-score). The relationship between Parental history of childhood victimization and CEM-Score was measured using linear regression.


The average CEM-score was came to be 19+5.2 among children whom parental history of childhood victimization was present (P < 0.001). The estimated mean CEM-score increased by 5.59 units (95% CI= {2.61, 8.51}) among children whom parents had a history of childhood victimization (Intergenerational abuse) with severe physical familial abuse.


The current study provided evidence on intergenerational transmission of maltreatment suggesting early prevention to break the cycle of child maltreatment through generations. Preventive measures can be taken, once a parental history of childhood victimization has been identified, by providing appropriate services to those families who belong to lower socioeconomic status, where mothers are young, presence of siblings’ rivalry/ bullying and/or violence among family members. However, these factors do not explain a complete causality of the intergenerational transmission therefore additional factors, for instance parenting styles must be taken into consideration.