Do family factors and gender influence violent behaviour in Thai adolescents?: A cross-sectional study
Background: Adolescent violence is one of the key social problems in Thailand. WHO (2002) has identified Thailand as 8th (out of 73 countries) in the number of murders committed by adolescents. A review of the literature found that one important factor may be the family environment (Laeheem et al, 2009; Ruangkanchanasetr et al, 2005; Isaranurug et al., 2001).Â However, there is little evidence identifying relevant family characteristics in Thailand. Therefore, to prevent violent behaviour in Thai adolescents, relevant professionals need a better understanding of the family factors that promotes or inhibits violence.
Objective: To identify risk and protective factors associated with the family that may influence violent behaviour in Thai adolescents and examine the role of gender.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a representative sample of 400 adolescents aged 15-18 years in northern Thailand. Validated self-report questionnaires were used to collect data from adolescents in a public high school and a technical college. T-tests, correlation, and multiple regressions were used to examine the data.
Results: Males reported having significantly more physical fights than females, whereas the females reported using significantly more verbal bullying than the male adolescents. The findings revealed that positive parenting practice, family relationship characteristics, and parent child attachment were negatively correlated (protective) and reduced the use of violent behaviour. Positive family relationship characteristics and high family income were identified as protective factors whereas fatherâ€™s with a master degree was identified as a risk factor for violence in adolescents.Interpretation and Conclusions: Results suggest that males report more physical violence but females report more verbal bullying. Adolescents who receive practical support from their parents, and have a close relationship with their family were less likely to report violent behaviour. Therefore, positive parenting practice, family relationships and parent-child attachment could be strengthened and gender differences should be considered in the prevention of adolescent violence.
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