Abstract: Parental Involvement in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Hong Kong: Attitudes, Knowledge, and Actual Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

16P Parental Involvement in Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Hong Kong: Attitudes, Knowledge, and Actual Practice

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Wen Xu, MSW, PhD student, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Monit Cheung, PhD, Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Background and Purpose: In Chinese society, an estimated 15.7% of females and 13.8% of males had experienced CSA in their childhood (Ji, Finkelhor, & Dunne, 2013). Although parents rated school-based programs as a major channel to preventing CSA, parental involvement must be further examined to protect children from harm (Jin, Chen, Jiang, & Yu, 2017). Little is known about what factors are correlated with parental involvement in educating their children about CSA prevention. A local agency interviewed randomly selected Chinese parents in Hong Kong for a better understanding of these parents’ perception of their roles in CSA prevention.

Methods: A survey was conducted through phone interviews targeting parents with elementary school age children. It contained questions about parental efforts in preventing CSA, including: 1) number of sex-related topics discussed with children; 2) number of approaches used to prevent CSA; 3) total score in CSA prevention effort (ranging from 0 to 70). Parental involvement in CSA prevention was calculated by summing up these scores. The independent variables included parents’ knowledge and attitudes related to CSA, each of which was measured by practice-developed items, ranging from 0 to 30 and 0 to 25, respectively. Controlled variables included parent’s gender, level of education, and daily time spent with their children.

Results: A total of 508 parents voluntarily participated in this study. They showed relatively positive attitudes about prevention (M=20.01, SD=2.93) and an appropriate level of knowledge (M=21.38, SD=2.19) on CSA. Most parents (71%) talked to their children on CSA prevention topics. Results from a two-way MANCOVA showed that attitude had a significant covariate effect on the parents’ overall behavior (Pillai’s Trace=.046, F(3,346)=6.25, p<.001), while knowledge did not. Attitudes accounted for 5.5% of variances in overall behavior (η2=.055). Positive attitudes were significantly correlated with a higher number of sex-related topics covered by these parents (F=22.31, p<.001, η2=.051) and a higher number of CSA prevention approaches these parents shared with their children (F=5.41, p=.02, η2=.016), but not with the score of CSA prevention contents delivered. Knowledge was not significantly correlated with any of these prevention efforts.

Discussion and Implications: The purpose of this study was to test the relationship of knowledge, attitude, and practice of CSA prevention among Chinese parents. Due to their unique cultural characteristics, Chinese parents were more reluctant to discuss CSA compared to their western counterparts. In the United States, exploring immigrant parents’ involvement in CSA prevention is important to reduce racial and cultural disparities in child protection. This study found that although attitudes contributed to parents’ practice in CSA prevention, most part of the variance in parental practice remained unexplained. Future studies should take more individual and environmental factors into consideration, such as parental styles and cultural influences. The findings could be biased by the use of practice-based measures, which might not be able to distinguish parents with high or low prevention efforts. For future research, CSA content areas need to be standardized to capture the types and intensity of parental involvement in CSA prevention.