Prevalence of Child Maltreatment in Ecuador Using the ICAST-R
Hypothesis and Data Analysis: A descriptive analysis was conducted to examine the prevalence of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Chi Square statistics were conducted to compare the prevalence of maltreatment for males and females. Cohen h effect sizes for differences between proportions were computed Participants: A representative sample from the largest universities in Quito, Ecuador (M=1,579, F= 1,554) completed an Ecuadorian adaptation of the Spanish version of the ICAST-R. The various university authorities were contacted for permission to collect the data from students on their sites. A convenient sample of university professors was then contacted and requested permission to allow a research assistant to come into their classrooms at their convenience. Only classrooms arranged with individual desks were included in this study. In each classroom students were first given the consent forms. Then, the ICAST-R questionnaire was distributed to those students who agreed to participate. The response rate for this study was high (98%). The students who did not consent were requested to stay silent and remain in their own individual chairs. After completion of the questionnaire, participants were to put the questionnaire in a slotted box located in the front desk. The research assistant responded to questions and remained in the classroom until all students had finished. Results: The results of the present study indicate that close to half of the participants experience some kind of physical (47.6%) and emotional (53%) maltreatment during their childhood. For physical abuse, females mentioned their mothers, while males mentioned both parents and peers as the most common perpetrators. For emotional abuse, both males and females mentioned same-sex peers and parents as the most frequent perpetrators. Childhood sexual abuse was reported by 15.52% of the participants. For girls, most of the abuse came from adult males, whereas in the case of boys, young females were the most common sexual abuse perpetrators. Conclusions: The results of this study compared with the worldwide trend observed in meta-analysis of studies in the field indicate that our Ecuadorian sample resembles the prevalence of sexual abuse and exceeds the prevalence of physical and emotional maltreatment. The gender-specific patterns that emerged in the present study indicate that the kinds of child maltreatment and the contexts in which they occur differ for girls and boys.