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      Violence against children and natural disasters: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative evidence

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          Reviews of violence against children in disaster settings focus on armed conflict. Little is understood about natural disasters which has implications in planning humanitarian response. We examined the magnitude and direction of the association between exposure to natural disasters and physical, emotional, and sexual violence against children, and assessed the quality of the evidence.

          Methods

          We searched 15 health and social science databases from first record until May 16, 2018. Publications describing all types of quantitative study design were eligible for inclusion. We presented study characteristics and quality in a narrative form and generated pooled estimates using a three-level random effects model. We evaluated Cochrane’s Q with p-values below 0.10 and radial plots to assess heterogeneity. Planned subgroup analyses explored differential results by violence form, study design, and analysis method.

          Results

          11 publications met inclusion criteria. The majority were cross-sectional studies examining physical or sexual violence in the United States. We found no evidence of a consistent association or directional influence between natural disasters and violence against children. Combined categorical violence outcomes had substantial heterogeneity [ Q (df = 66) = 252.83, p < 0.001]. Subgroups without evidence of heterogeneity had confidence intervals that included a possible null effect. Our findings were mainly limited by inconsistencies in operational definitions of violence, a lack of representative sampling, and unclear establishment of temporal order between natural disaster exposure and violence outcomes.

          Conclusions

          Based on the available evidence, we cannot confidently conclude that natural disasters increase the level or severity of violence against children above non-disaster settings, however heterogeneity and study quality hamper our ability to draw firm conclusions. More nuanced and rigorous research is needed to inform practice and policy as natural disasters increasingly affect human populations.

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          Most cited references 56

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          The interrelatedness of multiple forms of childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction.

          Childhood abuse and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have historically been studied individually, and relatively little is known about the co-occurrence of these events. The purpose of this study is to examine the degree to which ACEs co-occur as well as the nature of their co-occurrence. We used data from 8,629 adult members of a health plan who completed a survey about 10 ACEs which included: childhood abuse (emotional, physical, and sexual), neglect (emotional and physical), witnessing domestic violence, parental marital discord, and living with substance abusing, mentally ill, or criminal household members. The bivariate relationship between each of these 10 ACEs was assessed, and multivariate linear regression models were used to describe the interrelatedness of ACEs after adjusting for demographic factors. Two-thirds of participants reported at least one ACE; 81%-98% of respondents who had experienced one ACE reported at least one additional ACE (median: 87%). The presence of one ACE significantly increased the prevalence of having additional ACEs, elevating the adjusted odds by 2 to 17.7 times (median: 2.8). The observed number of respondents with high ACE scores was notably higher than the expected number under the assumption of independence of ACEs (p <.0001), confirming the statistical interrelatedness of ACEs. The study provides strong evidence that ACEs are interrelated rather than occurring independently. Therefore, collecting information about exposure to other ACEs is advisable for studies that focus on the consequences of a specific ACE. Assessment of multiple ACEs allows for the potential assessment of a graded relationship between these childhood exposures and health and social outcomes.
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            60,000 disaster victims speak: Part I. An empirical review of the empirical literature, 1981-2001.

            Results for 160 samples of disaster victims were coded as to sample type, disaster type, disaster location, outcomes and risk factors observed, and overall severity of impairment. In order of frequency, outcomes included specific psychological problems, nonspecific distress, health problems, chronic problems in living, resource loss, and problems specific to youth. Regression analyses showed that samples were more likely to be impaired if they were composed of youth rather than adults, were from developing rather than developed countries, or experienced mass violence (e.g., terrorism, shooting sprees) rather than natural or technological disasters. Most samples of rescue and recovery workers showed remarkable resilience. Within adult samples, more severe exposure, female gender, middle age, ethnic minority status, secondary stressors, prior psychiatric problems, and weak or deteriorating psychosocial resources most consistently increased the likelihood of adverse outcomes. Among youth, family factors were primary. Implications of the research for clinical practice and community intervention are discussed in a companion article (Norris, Friedman, and Watson, this volume).
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              Horizontal Inequalities and Ethnonationalist Civil War: A Global Comparison

              Contemporary research on civil war has largely dismissed the role of political and economic grievances, focusing instead on opportunities for conflict. However, these strong claims rest on questionable theoretical and empirical grounds. Whereas scholars have examined primarily the relationship between individual inequality and conflict, we argue that horizontal inequalities between politically relevant ethnic groups and states at large can promote ethnonationalist conflict. Extending the empirical scope to the entire world, this article introduces a new spatial method that combines our newly geocoded data on ethnic groups’ settlement areas with spatial wealth estimates. Based on these methodological advances, we find that, in highly unequal societies, both rich and poor groups fight more often than those groups whose wealth lies closer to the country average. Our results remain robust to a number of alternative sample definitions and specifications.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: SoftwareRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: Formal analysisRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Project administrationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: MethodologyRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                30 May 2019
                2019
                : 14
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
                [2 ] Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City, New York, United States of America
                Washington University in St. Louis, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-19-05320
                10.1371/journal.pone.0217719
                6542532
                31145758
                © 2019 Cerna-Turoff et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Pages: 18
                Product
                Funding
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Earth Sciences
                Natural Disasters
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Age Groups
                Children
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Families
                Children
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Research Assessment
                Systematic Reviews
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Database and Informatics Methods
                Database Searching
                Social Sciences
                Anthropology
                Cultural Anthropology
                Religion
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Religion
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Mathematical and Statistical Techniques
                Statistical Methods
                Metaanalysis
                Physical Sciences
                Mathematics
                Statistics
                Statistical Methods
                Metaanalysis
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Emotions
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Emotions
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Mental Health and Psychiatry
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

                Uncategorized

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