Research has revealed child abuse and neglect to be a complex problem with multiple determinants. The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate cultural aspects of abuse and neglect in Japanese-American and Samoan-American families in Hawaii. Several major areas of interest were delineated and examined: frequency of abuse and neglect, type and severity of abuse, history of childhood abuse for the perpetrator, environmental stress factors and personal factors relevant to the abuse or neglect as reported by the perpetrator. Cultural differences and patterns are reflected throughout the results. Abuse was found to be significantly more frequent in the Samoan-American group than in the Japanese-American group, with the converse being true for neglect. The total amount of environmental stress was found to be equal, but the types of stresses distinguished the two groups. Personal factors precipitating the abuse or neglect also revealed significant cultural differences. Cultural attitudes and behaviors related to child-rearing were reviewed and discussed with regards to the findings of this study. The results provide further evidence that programs of prevention and treatment must consider and reflect the cultural aspects of child abuse and neglect. © 1981.
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