Duke research finds disabled children treated more harshly in developing world

Jul. 30, 2013 @ 10:48 AM

Duke researchers interviewed almost 46,000 caregivers in 17 low- to middle-income countries for a new study that found children with disabilities receive harsher punishment across the developing world.

The study found that disabled children were more likely to be physically punished, such as being hit on the head or beaten with an object such as a stick or belt, according to Jennifer Lansford, a research professor with the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy.

Disabilities affect at least 93 million children worldwide, according to a Duke news release, and are more prevalent in poor countries. Eighty percent of the world’s disabled population resides in the developing world.

The study is the largest to date to examine the link between children’s disabilities and the discipline they receive. Field interviews were conducted with caregivers of children between 2 and 9 years old, and the countries studied were Albania, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Laos, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Suriname and Yemen.

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