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Ayiro L. - Maseno University, Kenya

Mbagaya C. V. - Maseno University, Kenya

Othuon L. A. - Maseno University, Kenya


Parents have a lasting impact on their children’s growth and development. While child safe-guarding has been linked to healthy development, child maltreatment has been associated with negative long term consequences including child psychopathology. Research has shown that child maltreatment is a global problem and parents are the most common perpetrators. Globally, it is estimated that 25.3% of children experience some form of violence every day and almost one billion children are maltreated by their caregivers. In Kenya, it is approximated that at least 32% of males and 26% of females experience some form of maltreatment during childhood and a total of 12.1% of children present psychopathological related behavior. This study investigated the association between parenting style and child maltreatment among 330 Kenyan children aged between 7 and 10 years. Multi-stage and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the children and their parents. Cross-sectional research design and correlational analytic strategy was used. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, paired sample t-test and hierarchical regression analysis. A total of 155 (52%) fathers and 140(48%) mothers drawn from 330 households completed the Conflict Tactics Scale and Parenting Style and Dimensions Questionnaires. Findings indicated that mothers maltreated their children more than did fathers; mothers (M = 1.67, SD = .52, 107) and fathers (M =1.51, SD = .52, n = 107), t = 2.72, df = 107, p = .01. Mothers’ and fathers’ parenting style were predictors of child maltreatment (β=.28, p=.00) and (β=.17, p=.04) respectively. Specifically, mothers’ parenting style was a predictor of physical assault (β=.27, p=.00) and psychological aggression (β=.30, p=.00) against their children. Fathers’ parenting style was a predictor of psychological aggression (β=.28, p=.00). The results are discussed in the context of the Baumrind’s Theory of parenting styles and dimensions. The study highlights the need to train parents on positive parenting to minimize the risk of maltreatment.

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