Peer violence perpetration and victimization: Prevalence, associated factors and pathways among 1752 sixth grade boys and girls in schools in Pakistan.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28817565

Karmaliani R, Mcfarlane J, Somani R, Khuwaja HMA, Bhamani SS, Ali TS, Gulzar S, Somani Y, Chirwa ED, Jewkes R. Peer violence perpetration and victimization: Prevalence, associated factors and pathways among 1752 sixth grade boys and girls in schools in Pakistan. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(8):e0180833.
BACKGROUND
Child peer violence is a global problem and seriously impacts health and education. There are few research studies available in Pakistan, or South Asia. We describe the prevalence of peer violence, associations, and pathways between socio-economic status, school performance, gender attitudes and violence at home.

METHODS
1752 children were recruited into a cluster randomized controlled trial conducted on 40 fairly homogeneous public schools (20 for girls and 20 for boys), in Hyderabad, Pakistan. This was ranging from 20-65 children per school. All children were interviewed with questionnaires at baseline.

RESULTS
Few children had no experience of peer violence in the previous 4 weeks (21.7% of girls vs.7% of boys). Some were victims (28.6%, of girls vs. 17.9% of boys), some only perpetrated (3.3% of girls vs. 2.5%) but mostly they perpetrated and were victims (46.4%.of girls vs 72.6%. of boys). The girls' multivariable models showed that missing the last school day due to work, witnessing her father fight a man in the last month and having more patriarchal gender attitudes were associated with both experiencing violence and perpetration, while, hunger was associated with perpetration only. For boys, missing two or more days of school in the last month, poorer school performance and more patriarchal attitudes were associated with both victimization and perpetration. Witnessing father fight, was associated with peer violence perpetration for boys. These findings are additionally confirmed with structural models.

DISCUSSION
Peer violence in Pakistan is rooted in poverty and socialization of children, especially at home. A critical question is whether a school-based intervention can empower children to reduce their violence engagement in the context of poverty and social norms supportive of violence. In the political context of Pakistan, reducing all violence is essential and understanding the potential of schools as a platform for intervention is key.