Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Harsh discipline relates to internalizing problems and cognitive functioning: findings from a cross-sectional study with school children in Tanzania


Hecker, Tobias; Hermenau, Katharin; Salmen, Charlotte; Teicher, Martin; Elbert, Thomas (2016). Harsh discipline relates to internalizing problems and cognitive functioning: findings from a cross-sectional study with school children in Tanzania. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1):118.

Abstract

Background: Child maltreatment poses a risk to children and adolescents’ mental health and may also affect cognitive functioning. Also harsh discipline has been frequently associated with mental health problems. However, within societies in which harsh disciplinary methods are culturally normed and highly prevalent less is known about the association between harsh punishment, mental health problems, and cognitive functioning.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we conducted structured clinical interviews with a sample of Tanzanian primary school students assessing exposure to harsh discipline (Maltreatment and Abuse Chronology of Exposure), internalizing problems (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, Children’s Depression Inventory), and working memory (Corsi Blocktapping Task). School performance was measured by using the exam grades in 4 core subjects. The 409 children (52 % boys) had a mean age of 10.5 years (range: 6 – 15).
Results: Using structural equation modeling, a strong relationship was found between harsh discipline and internalizing problems (β = .47), which were related to lower working memory capacity (β = −.17) and school performance (β = −.17).
Conclusions: The present study suggests that harsh discipline is closely linked to children’s internalizing mental health problems, which are in turn associated with lower cognitive functioning and school performance. Given the high rates of harsh discipline experienced by children in East African homes and elsewhere, the findings of the present study emphasize the need to inform the population at large about the potentially adverse consequences associated with harsh discipline.

Abstract

Background: Child maltreatment poses a risk to children and adolescents’ mental health and may also affect cognitive functioning. Also harsh discipline has been frequently associated with mental health problems. However, within societies in which harsh disciplinary methods are culturally normed and highly prevalent less is known about the association between harsh punishment, mental health problems, and cognitive functioning.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we conducted structured clinical interviews with a sample of Tanzanian primary school students assessing exposure to harsh discipline (Maltreatment and Abuse Chronology of Exposure), internalizing problems (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, Children’s Depression Inventory), and working memory (Corsi Blocktapping Task). School performance was measured by using the exam grades in 4 core subjects. The 409 children (52 % boys) had a mean age of 10.5 years (range: 6 – 15).
Results: Using structural equation modeling, a strong relationship was found between harsh discipline and internalizing problems (β = .47), which were related to lower working memory capacity (β = −.17) and school performance (β = −.17).
Conclusions: The present study suggests that harsh discipline is closely linked to children’s internalizing mental health problems, which are in turn associated with lower cognitive functioning and school performance. Given the high rates of harsh discipline experienced by children in East African homes and elsewhere, the findings of the present study emphasize the need to inform the population at large about the potentially adverse consequences associated with harsh discipline.

Statistics

Citations

2 citations in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

6 downloads since deposited on 18 Nov 2016
6 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:18 Nov 2016 15:10
Last Modified:13 Mar 2017 11:31
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-244X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-016-0828-3

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 759kB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Article Networks

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations