Coming of age in the shadow of the Taliban: Adolescents' and parents' views toward interpersonal violence and harmful traditional practices in Afghanistan

Mengmeng Li, Krishna Rao, Kayhan Natiq, Omrana Pasha, Robert Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives. To understand Afghan adolescents' and parents' attitudes toward interpersonal violence. Methods. We used a 2-stage sampling method in 6 provinces during 2016; we included 916 adolescents aged 12 to 15 years and 454 parents. Results. In the abstract, a minority of adolescents or parents endorsed violence; however, specific situations justified most violence (e.g., husbands beating wives, parents hitting children). Both adolescents (48.0%) and parents (39.0%) thought a wife hitting her husband was least justifiable. Endorsement of violence justification did not appear to vary significantly on the basis of parental education or wealth. More fathers rejected all violence rationale than did mothers, and women were more likely to justify wife beating (75.0% vs 58.6%; P < .01), beating of daughters (78.5% vs 60.6%; P < .01), and teachers hitting students (62.9% vs 51.5%; P < .01). Of all respondents, 25% approved of threatening a child if he or she speaks out against harmful traditional practices. Conclusions. Although it may be socially unacceptable to advocate physical aggression, most Afghans still find numerous conditions that justify it. Without deliberate violence reduction strategies, education alone is unlikely to reduce the high levels of interpersonal violence in Afghanistan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1688-1694
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume108
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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