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A Cross-cultural Comparison of Interpersonal Violence in the Lives of College Students from Two Colleges from The Bahamas and United States of America

Authors:
  • University of The Bahamas

Abstract

There is a dearth of studies that compare interpersonal violence cross nationally. This paper reports the findings of a cross-sectional study which compares and contrasts violence in the lives of 740 college students, as children and as adults, in The Bahamas and the United States of America. Overall, students in The Bahamas were subjected to more violence (more frequently spanked) than their American counterparts. Frequency of spanking when the student was a preteen and teenager were linked to anger outbursts in adulthood, and higher numbers of anger outbursts were linked with violent behaviours of students. Although Bahamian students were exposed to more violence than the American students, this did not result in Bahamian students being more violent than American students in interpersonal relationships. However, Bahamian students were more likely than American students to anticipate using corporal punishment on their children and to condone violence in marital relationships.
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
A Cross-cultural Comparison of Interpersonal
Violence in the Lives of College Students from
Two Colleges from The Bahamas and United
States of America
William J. Fielding
The College of The Bahamas1
Christina Risley-Curtiss
Travis W. Cronin
Arizona State University
ABSTRACT
There is a dearth of studies that compare interpersonal violence cross nationally. This paper
reports the findings of a cross-sectional study which compares and contrasts violence in the lives
of 740 college students, as children and as adults, in The Bahamas and the United States of
America. Overall, students in The Bahamas were subjected to more violence (more frequently
spanked) than their American counterparts. Frequency of spanking when the student was a pre-
teen and teenager were linked to anger outbursts in adulthood, and higher numbers of anger
outbursts were linked with violent behaviours of students. Although Bahamian students were
exposed to more violence than the American students, this did not result in Bahamian students
being more violent than American students in interpersonal relationships. However, Bahamian
students were more likely than American students to anticipate using corporal punishment on
their children and to condone violence in marital relationships.
1 W. J. Fielding, Director of Planning, The College of The Bahamas; Christina Risley-Curtiss, School of Social Work,
Travis W. Cronin, School of Social Work, Arizona State University.
Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Elisa Kawam for her assistance with the data collection and Jennifer
Brougham for access to her classes. We would also like to thank Cliff Flynn for his generosity in giving us use of his
original questionnaire.
Corresponding author: william.fielding@cob.edu.bs
APA reference: Fielding, W. J., Risley-Curtiss, C., & Cronin, T. W. (2015). A cross-cultural comparison of
interpersonal violence in the lives of college students from two colleges from The Bahamas and United States of
America. The International Journal of Bahamian Studies, 21(1), 38-56. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.15362/ijbs.v21i1.230
INTRODUCTION
The peaceful image projected by The
Bahamas today masks a violent history. Like
other territories in the West Indies, The
Bahamas has emerged from invasion,
colonization, and slavery into a modern small
island state, with limited resources beyond
that of sun, sea and sand; these resources
underpin the country’s tourism industry
(Craton & Saunders, 1999, 2000). In common
with its West Indian neighbours, The
Bahamas has not dissociated itself from its
violent past. Violence in The Bahamas has
continued to increase (United Nations Office
W. J. Fielding et al., 2015. Journal compilation The International Journal of Bahamian Studies, 2015
Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 39
on Drugs and Crime & World Bank, 2007),
most notably in the increasing number of
people who suffer violent deaths each year
(Le Franc, Samms-Vaughan, Hambleton,
Fox, & Brown, 2008; Hanna, 2011). Even
homicide rates in The Bahamas are 6.3 times
higher than in the United States of America
(United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime,
2013), despite the United States of America
being a country which is well-known for gun
violence (National Institute of Justice, 2013)
and high prison populations driven by violent
crime (O'Hear, 2013).
However, less obvious violence, namely
violence in homes and how it affects
household members, particularly children, is
also important as it can have far-reaching
effects (Holt, Buckley, & Whelan, 2008;
Mass, Herrenkohl, & Sousa, 2008). In
Jamaica, poor parenting practices have been
implicated as an important factor contributing
to the level of violence in that country (Smith
& Mosby, 2003). By extension, the use of
violence by parents to discipline children,
common in The Bahamas (Brennen et al.,
2010), threatens the wellbeing of the entire
community, both in the short and long term
as abused children may struggle to become
productive members of society in adulthood.
Further, abused children can have difficulty
in their interactions with others (Lazenbatt,
2010), which can lead to further violence.
Indeed, child abuse can have effects which
transcend generations (Child Welfare
Information Gateway, 2013).
The consequences of violence exist in a
cultural context; for example, the
acceptability of parents spanking children
(D’Avanzo, 2008) or the right to own a
firearm distinguish cultures (e.g., see
Huemer, 2003) and so we need to be aware of
historical and current contexts in particular
communities. A clear difference between the
United States and The Bahamas is captured in
their Human Development Index rankings, of
5 and 51 respectively (United Nations
Development Prorogramme, 2015).
Differences can also exist within a wider
national community. For example in the
United States, African-American males are
8.2 times more likely to die by homicide than
their white male counterparts (Violence
Policy Center, 2014). Accordingly, we need
to be cognizant of influences beyond just
geography which can influence violence in
today’s society.
The Bahamas is culturally influenced by the
United States through the media and
interactions arising from entertaining
American tourists. Over 500,000 tourists
arrive in the Bahamas per month (Trading
Economics, 2015), the bulk of whom are
North Americans. American news,
entertainment and radio and TV stations also
increase awareness of the American world-
view in The Bahamas. Florida is a focal point
for residents of The Bahamas travelling
outside the country. In The Bahamas, the
United States currency is used
interchangeably with Bahamian currency. In
2007, when the United States changed the
date when Day Light Saving time occurred,
The Bahamas followed suit (2007 Daylight
Saving Time Change FAQ). Therefore, in
various and often subtle ways, the United
States has become the frame of reference for
many in The Bahamas. This suggests that it is
therefore not inappropriate to conduct a
cross-cultural study to compare levels of
violence in Bahamian and American homes
the purpose of this paper. But while there are
clear connections between the United States
of America and The Bahamas, they also
remain distinct communities.
While there is an idealized image of the
United States as a nation of economic
opportunity, this masks its position as a world
leader in incarceration (Blumstein, 2011). It
incarcerates around 698 people per 100,000
in the population compared to 379 per
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
40 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
100,000 in The Bahamas (International
Centre for Prison Studies, 2013). In the
United States, incarceration rate increases
have been driven by a socio-political position
of being tough on crime facilitated primarily
through the War on Drugs (Blumstein, 2011).
Alexander (2012) has suggested that the War
on Drugs has been used as a legal framework
to maintain a racial caste in which men of
colour are systematically incarcerated and
stripped of their rights. Violence in the
United States continues to gain world
attention due to the killings of black males by
police (Mejia, 2014). So, the United States is
not presented as a panacea but rather as a
country with its own set of interpersonal
violence concerns.
Compared to the United States of America,
less research has been undertaken on violence
in The Bahamas. While a recent bibliography
on violence in The Bahamas (Walker,
Ballance, Pinder-Darling, Morris & Bain,
2011) included relatively few research studies
specific to The Bahamas, there is a slowly
increasing body of such research (e.g. The
College of The Bahamas, 2011). These
studies have started to point to levels of
violence both inside and outside of the home
which may rival or exceed that in other
countries (McPhedran, 2009; Hanna, 2011).
For example, these studies indicate that
Bahamian children are subject to physical
discipline, threats and insults throughout
childhood and that physical abuse can have
detrimental effects on the development of
children (Carroll, Fielding, Brennen, &
Hutcheson, 2011).
Nonetheless, a comparison of child abuse etc.
between The Bahamas and the United States
is difficult due to a lack of statistics from The
Bahamas which match those from the United
States (e.g., Sedlak et al., 2010). Statistics
from UNICEF (2014) demonstrate not only
the global importance of violence in the lives
of children, but the violence directed towards
children within the United States. Extreme
maltreatment of children is a cause for
concern in the United States as the country
has a high death rate due to the mistreatment
of children compared with other “rich”
nations (UNICEF, 2003). Consequently, it is
apparent that children in both The Bahamas
and the United States are victims of abuse.
While studies on violence towards children
within The Bahamas, such as those of Carrol
et al. (2011) are of interest per se, without a
frame of reference, it is difficult to interpret
the results.
The data reported here come from a larger
study whose primary purpose was to examine
attitudes and behaviours of college/university
students towards animals and people in two
communities in The Bahamas and the United
States. In the absence of previous studies
comparing violence in The Bahamas to
violence in the United States, outside of
homicides (Hanna, 2011) and rape (United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014),
the purpose of this study is to examine
violence among American and Bahamian
college students. This paper provides
information about these students’
backgrounds and the levels and types of
violence to which they were subjected as
children which is required for investigating
relationships between human and non-human
animals (e.g., Humane Society of the United
States, 2011). These relationships,
highlighting cross-cultural aspects from this
study, will be reported elsewhere.
METHOD
The study was conducted at two institutions
of higher education offering university-level
degree courses, one large university in the
southwest United States and the other a
smaller institution in The Bahamas. The
study required undergraduate students to
complete an online questionnaire of 233
questions regarding relationships in families
as well as with animals. A major portion of
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Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 41
the questionnaire was taken from one created
for the study of childhood animal abuse and
interpersonal violence (Flynn, 1999a).
Information was obtained from respondents
on demographics, the home and parents,
actual or anticipated use of spanking of the
respondent’s children, frequency of spanking
of respondents by parents, and resultant
injuries, violence between parents, attitudes
of respondents to interpersonal violence of
married couples, use of violence by
respondents and experiences of animal abuse.
The questionnaire was originally devised in
the context of the United States, and so it was
pretested and critiqued by a class of
Bahamian students to insure it was
understandable cross-culturally.
Undergraduate college students were sampled
to counter the common use of
clinical/criminal populations when studying
violent behaviour, especially against animals.
In addition, it provided access to a large and
potentially more diverse population from
which to draw participants. The respective
authors’ Institutional Research Boards and
Ethics Committees approved the study.
Recruitment
Students from an American university
enrolled in undergraduate liberal arts classes
were invited to participate through a posting
on their class Blackboard site. A
recruitment flyer briefly explained the nature
of the research, including that they needed to
be aged 18 or over to participate, and
provided students with a link to a Qualtrics
Online Survey. This included a cover letter
explaining the process in more detail,
including a lottery incentive of Amazon™
gift cards. In addition, students in the United
States were awarded one point extra credit in
their class for completing the survey. In The
Bahamas, college students were invited to
participate through e-mails and
announcements in classes in the social
sciences. A gift card was again offered in a
lottery to encourage participation. Anonymity
was maintained by including a separate link
at the end of the survey to allow respondents
to provide contact information if they wanted
the extra credit and/or to enter the lottery.
The questionnaire did not require students to
answer any question, other than the
consensual question.
Originally 830 students started the online
questionnaire. After cleaning the data, and
removing ineligible responses (e.g., some
students were under 18 years of age) the final
sample included 740 students. Not all these
responses were complete, so this represents
the maximum sample size. For clarity of
presentation, the students attending the
university in the United States of America
will be called “American” students and those
attending college in The Bahamas will be
called “Bahamian” students, recognizing that
these terms may not necessarily correspond
with the citizenship of students or their
parents.
The questionnaire
This paper focuses on a subset of the original
233 questions. We report on respondents’
demographics, violence in the home,
respondents’ experiences of violence and
their attitudes/feelings about using violence
as parents. In recognition that family
structures can be complex, when we refer to
parents (mothers and fathers) in reality we
mean “parental figures” to include those
persons who would be expected to perform
the role and function of fathers or mothers,
irrespective of their formal relationship with
their intimate partner or with the student.
Violence was assessed by a series of
questions including the use of violence by
one or both parents on students as well as
violence between parents and abuse of
animals by parents. To get an appreciation of
the severity of the violence used, we asked
questions about the consequences of the
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42 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
discipline received by respondents (e.g., did
you ever suffer an injury as a result of being
physically disciplined by parental figures
etc.?). Students were also asked questions
about their own violent behaviour such as
abuse of animals, violence in their dating
relationships as well as their tendency to have
angry outbursts. Attitudes towards specific
parenting issues were assessed by asking
students if they might approve of a husband
and wife slapping each other, and whether
they intended to spank or practised spanking
their own children.
The results were analyzed using appropriate
procedures in the IBM SPSS Statistics
programme. Due to the fact that most of the
questions resulted in nominal or interval data,
non-parametric statistical procedures were
used, except in the case of age data.
RESULTS
The Participants
The sample included 740 students with 559
(75.5%) residing in the United States at the
time of the study and 180 (24.3%) residing in
The Bahamas. The majority of students were
female (82.9% of 737); the mean age was 21
years (Mdn = 21; mode = 21; range 18-49)
and 73.9% (of 739 students) were
juniors/seniors in their academic
programmes. Approximately half (49.9%) of
students (738) gave their primary identity as
Caucasian; 16.4% identified themselves as
Afro-Caribbean; 12.3% as Hispanic
(Chicano/Mexican, Puerto Rican, Other
Hispanic/Latino/a) and 7.3% as African
American.
With regard to American and Bahamian
students, there were proportionately more
females in the sample of American students.
85.1% of 558 American respondents were
female as opposed to 76.0% of 179 Bahamian
students (Fisher’s exact test, n = 769, p =
.009). The mean ages of the two groups of
students were similar (t = -.726, n = 683, p =
.558). As might be expected, the ethnicity of
the Bahamian students was dominated by
African-American or Afro-Caribbean
(82.8%) with 1.1% Caucasian as opposed to
4.7% African-American and 65.6%
Caucasian in the American sample.
The homes of both American and Bahamian
students were equally likely to include
siblings (90.7% of 738). The household
composition, in terms of percentages with
either/or/both male/female parental figures
present etc., in which respondents were
brought up during their high school years,
was broadly similar. When considering
household composition in terms of having
one or two parents in the home, this was
similar for students both in The Bahamas and
the United States (56.2% in the United States
and 57.2% in The Bahamas). Similar
percentages of students (71.3% of 558
Americans and 65.9% of 179 Bahamians) had
parents who were married.
The educational attainment of students
parents was different between the two
countries, with those in The Bahamas less
likely to have an education beyond high
school. This was found for both fathers, χ2 (7,
N = 702) = 31.6, p < .001, and mothers, χ2 (7,
N = 723) = 25.2, p = .001. Of 540 American
fathers, 69.2% were educated beyond high
school, as opposed to 54.9% of 162
Bahamian fathers. In the case of mothers,
70.9% of 548 American mothers were
educated beyond high school compared to
56.6% of 175 in The Bahamas.
A similar percentage of students in both
countries had grown up with pets (94.1%).
American households were more likely than
Bahamian households to own firearms;
41.9% (of 532) of American students lived in
homes with guns when they were growing up,
compared to 22.1% (of 163) of Bahamian
students (Fisher’s exact test, n = 695, p <
.001).
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 43
Parental Figure Violence in Students’
Homes
Parent-to-parent violence. The occurrence of
parent-to-parent violence, defined as hitting
or throwing something at the other, varied
according to the sex of the respondent and the
country in which respondents lived. There
was no significant difference in the use of
violence on mothers by fathers in either
country: 19.1% of American students and
20.5% of Bahamian students had fathers who
had hit their mothers (Fisher’s exact test, n =
661, p = .385). However, there was a country
difference between violence by mothers or
fathers reported by female respondents, but
not by male respondents. Bahamian female
students reported more mother-on-father
violence than American female students with
27.7% of Bahamian students reporting this
compared with 18.4% of American students
(Fisher’s exact test, n = 547, p = .035).
The frequency of use of violence by parents
between each other was linked with the
educational attainment of the male parental
figure is displayed in Table 1 for both
countries. Lower educational level was
significantly related to increased frequency of
violence toward the mother figure. While this
association was more pronounced in the
United States, a similar pattern was also
found in The Bahamas. The smaller sample
size of the Bahamian group may be
responsible for the trend not being formally
significant.
Table 1
Correlation between level of education and frequency of violence between parental figures (Kendall’s tau rτ)
Level of education
of father figure
of mother figure
United States
Frequency with which father figure hit mother figure
-.120**
The Bahamas
Frequency with which father figure hit mother figure
-.163*
United States
Frequency with which mother figure hit father figure
-.178**
The Bahamas
Frequency with which mother figure hit father figure
-.123
* Correlation is significant at the .05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (2-tailed). No associations were found between the presence of a firearm in homes and the frequency
of violence between parents in homes (p > .05).
Parental violence towards students. Before
becoming teenagers, students in both
countries were spanked with equal frequency
by their fathers 2(6, N = 694) = 6.99, p =
.322). However, Bahamian students were
spanked with greater frequency by their
mothers than American students (χ2(6, N
=728) = 104.8, p = < .001). As students
became teenagers, mothers and fathers in The
Bahamas were more likely than their
American counterparts to spank their
children. Associated with this, mothers in
The Bahamas were more likely to have
attacked (attack meaning to kick, punch,
choke or use a weapon to beat up the child)
the student as a pre-teen than American
mothers. However, this pattern of behaviour
did not persist into the teenage years, as
shown in Table 2. Mothers in The Bahamas
were generally more likely to commit acts of
violence on children than American mothers.
It should also be noted, that for some aspects
of violence, the responses depended upon the
student’s sex.
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
44 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
Table 2
Percentage of female/male students suffering selected violent acts
Sex Violent act Victimizer United States The Bahamas Fisher’s exact test p
Both sexes As pre-teenagers,
ever spanked by:
Father 61.8 69.8 .076
Males
Mother
76.8
.087
Females
Mother
67.9
< .001
Males As teenagers ever
spanked by:
Father 27.5 43.6 .062
Females
Father
19.0
< .001
Both sexes
Mother
29.9
< .001
Both sexes As pre-teenagers,
ever attacked
Father 2.7 3.6 .338
Males
Mother
6.1
.562
Females
Mother
3.4
.009
Both sexes As teenagers, ever
attacked
Father 4.5 2.4 .358
Males
Mother
6.3
> .99
Females
Mother
4.4
.067
Both sexes Ever injured as a result of physical discipline by parents 7.4 10.1 .268
Both sexes Ever needed treatment by a doctor for these injuries 2.0 0.5 .401
“Attack” means to kick, punch, choke or use a weapon to beat up the child.
Overall, mothers were responsible for more
violence than fathers towards their children,
as illustrated in Table 3. In homes with both
parents, mothers were responsible for more
spanking than fathers at both the pre- and
post-teen stages of the respondent. Parents in
The Bahamas made more use of physical
punishment than American parents.
Table 3
Frequency of use of physical punishment in homes with both parents present at different stages of respondents’ life
Wilcoxon signed ranks Pre- teen Teenager
United States
The Bahamas
United States
The Bahamas
Mother using physical violence more frequently than father
z-score 2.25 7.62 2.92 7.09
p .024 < .001 .003 < .001
Frequency (no. of times)
Pre-teen Teenager
United States The Bahamas United States The Bahamas
Percentile group Mother Father Mother Father Mother Father Mother Father
25%
0
0
3-5
0
0
0
0
0
50%
2
2
6-10
2
0
0
2
0
75% 6-10 3-5 >20 6-10 2 1 3-5 2
n
553
532
175
162
551
518
174
162
The frequency of spanking used by parents
increased when respondents had siblings in the household in both American and
Bahamian homes. For American students
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Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 45
Mann-Whitney U tests indicated an increase
in the frequency in the spanking for
respondents with siblings, as opposed to no
siblings. This was significant in the case of
mothers spanking the respondent as a pre-
teen (U = 10274.5, p = .002) and for fathers
spanking the respondent as a teenager (U =
10939.5, p = .032). A similar result was also
found in the Bahamian group (U = 597.0, p =
.021) for mothers spanking the respondent as
a pre-teen and for fathers spanking the
respondent as a teenager (U = 336.0, p =
.048).
In the American group, the level of education
of father was correlated with the number of
times respondents were hit as teenagers (rτ = -
.076, p = .032, n = 545). The level of
education of mothers was correlated with the
number of times respondents here hit, both
when a pre-teenager and when a teenager (rτ
= -.136, p < .001, n = 549 and rτ = -.162, p <
.001, n = 553 respectively). No corresponding
associations were found in the Bahamian
group for either fathers or mothers. However,
it should be noted that the number of
Bahamian respondents might have been too
small to detect a relationship.
The frequency with which students were
spanked as children was associated with the
intention of students to spank their own
children. For American students, the
frequency with which mothers spanked them,
as preteens and teenagers, was associated
with students planning to spank their own
children (U = 14898, p < .001, and U =
19615.5, p < .001 respectively). The
frequency of fathers spanking students as
preteens was also associated with students’
intention to spank their own children (U =
16081.5, p < .001). In the Bahamian group,
the association was only noted for mothers
spanking students, both as preteens (U = 564,
p = .026) and as teenagers (U = 511.5, p =
.010).
Violence against animals. Another form of
violence found in homes and associated with
parent-to-parent abuse as well as the use of
physical discipline of children (Flynn, 1999b)
is abuse of animals by family members. This
can be in the form of the parent or other
family member (e.g., sibling) actually
abusing the animal himself or the child
abusing an animal. While the occurrence of
animal abuse in general is fairly low it is
associated with other forms of family
violence. In this study 104 students witnessed
someone kill an animal for reasons other than
food, hunting or to help the animal. Six
students (2 American, 4 Bahamians) reported
they had witnessed their mother killing an
animal for reasons other than food, hunting or
to help the animal. Thirteen had witnessed
their father doing the same (7 Americans, 6
Bahamians); eight had seen a sibling kill an
animal (6 Americans, 2 Bahamians); and 25
(18 Americans; 7 Bahamians) reported
having seen another relative kill an animal for
reasons other than those mentioned above.
Four students indicated that someone had
tried to control them by threatening to use or
using violence on an animal; three of these
students lived in the United States. The
victimizers were father/stepfather: 1;
mother/stepmother: 2; siblings: 3; and other
relatives: 2.
Other Violence in the Lives of Students
Students were asked about the use of selected
violent behaviours in their interactions with
their dating partners, as illustrated in Table 4.
The personal experiences of violence by
students were generally similar in both
countries. One exception was in the case of
students being hit by an object by someone
they were dating. Females in the United
States were more likely to have suffered from
this violence than females in The Bahamas,
but not males.
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
46 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
Table 4
Percentage of students experiencing interpersonal violence by country and gender between countries
Action
U.S. Bahamas Fisher p
Have you ever kicked, punched, bitten, choked, beaten up, or
attacked with a weapon someone you were dating
Both sexes 5.8 8.6 0.22
Have you ever hit or thrown something at someone you were dating? Both sexes 30.2 26.1 0.34
Have you ever tried to force a dating partner to have sexual relations
with you by using physical force
Both sexes 0.7 1.7 0.37
Have you ever forced a dating partner to have sexual relations with
you by using physical force
Both sexes 0.4 1.1 0.24
Have you ever been hit or had something thrown at you by someone
you were dating? Male 24.4 14.6 0.25
Female 25.8 16.8 0.04
Have you ever been kicked, punched, bitten, choked, beaten up, or
attacked with a weapon by someone you were dating?
Both sexes 11.3 7.5 0.16
Has a dating partner ever tried to force you to have sexual relations by
using physical force
Both sexes 11.5 12.7 0.67
Has a dating partner ever forced you to have sexual relations by using
physical force, such as holding down, hitting or threatening to hit
Both sexes 7.0 5.7 0.73
One difference, however, was with the
American students where increased frequency
of parental spanking of students when
teenagers was associated with students
attacking (with a weapon etc.) their dating
partner (father spanking U = 5671.5, p =
.004; mother spanking U = 5697, p < .001).
Similarly in the American group only,
frequency of spanking was associated with
students who had thrown something at their
dating partner (mother spanking student as a
pre-teen, U = 28053, p = .020, father
spanking the student as a teenager U = 25477,
p = .034 and mother spanking the student as
teenager, U = 24819, p < .001). No
equivalent associations were found in the
Bahamian group.
Overall, differences between the responses of
males and females were only found for
hitting a dating partner and having been
forced to have sexual relations with a dating
partner, and not for the other actions listed in
Table 4. Males were less likely to have hit a
dating partner than females (8.0% of 125
males; 33.7% of 606 females, Fisher’s exact
test, n = 731, p < .001). However, females
were more likely than males to have been
coerced to have sexual relations by physical
force with a dating partner (13.6% of 605
females compared with 3.3% of 123 males,
Fisher’s exact test, n = 728, p = 0.001).
Interpersonal violence often co-occurs with
animal abuse. Eight students (0.8% of 124
males and 1.2% of 597 females) in both
countries had killed a pet other than for
humane reasons. However, 10.6% of 123
males and 1.3% of 599 females had killed a
stray or wild animal (other than for food),
demonstrating gender-associated levels of
violence (Fisher’s exact test, n = 722, p <
.001). This gender difference persisted across
both groups of students. Hurting or torturing
an animal was more common in the
Bahamian group (9.9%) compared to 1.7% in
the American group (Fisher’s exact test, n =
644, p < .001).
Attitudes towards Parental Behaviours
Students from the two communities had
different attitudes towards violence between
husbands and wives (see Table 5). Bahamian
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 47
females showed greater approval of slapping
between husbands and wives than their
American counterparts. However, American
and Bahamian male students had similar
attitudes (disapproval) towards wives hitting
their husbands, but disagreed about husbands
hitting their wives, with Bahamians
expressing more approval. What may be
considered the classical stereotype of males
being the achiever outside the home was
disapproved of to an almost equal extent by
both groups of students.
Table 5
Student attitudes about parental gender roles by country United States (US) and The Bahamas (BS) (percentages)
Male students
Female students
Attitude: Strongly
Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly
Agree Χ2 p Strongly
Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly
Agree Χ2 p
I can imagine a
situation in which I
would approve of a
wife slapping her
husband.
US 32.5 21.7 41 4.8 .564 42.9 24.5 29.4 3.2 .024
BS 42.9 23.8 31 2.4 35.3 27.2 28.7 8.8
I can imagine a
situation in which I
would approve of a
husband slapping
his wife.
US 77.1 19.3 3.6 0.0 .036 75.2 21.1 3.6 0.2 .002
BS 58.1 27.9 14 0.0 64.0 26.5 6.6 2.9
It is much better if
the man is the
achiever outside
the home
US 24.1 43.4 24.1 8.4 .822 43.0 39.0 15.6 2.3 .175
BS 20.9 46.5 27.9 4.7 33.1 43.4 19.9 3.7
Students’ attitudes towards gender roles were
correlated with frequency of spanking by
American students but not by Bahamian
students as illustrated in Table 6. Students
from The Bahamas indicated that they would
be more likely to spank their children than
American students: 63.3% of Bahamian
students who had children spanked their
children compared to 17.5% of American
students (Fisher’s exact test, n = 127, p <
.001). Most (90.1%) Bahamian students
intended to spank their children, if they had
any, compared to 46.0% of American
students (Fisher’s exact test, p < .001, n =
585). This intent or actual use of spanking,
was associated with the students’ own
experience of spanking in their childhood in
Table 7. Possibly due to the ubiquitous use of
spanking in The Bahamas, the association
between the spanking behaviour of one
generation being passed on to the next does
not always emerge as statistically significant
as in the case of the American students.
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
48 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
Table 6
Correlations (Kendall’s tau rτ) between frequency of spanking of respondent & attitudes towards gender roles by country
I could approve of
a wife slapping
her husband.
I could approve of
a husband
slapping his wife.
The man should be
the achiever
outside the home
United States
I could approve of a wife slapping her husband.
1
I could approve of a husband slapping his wife.
.378**
1
The man should be the achiever outside the home
.120**
0.033
1
As a pre-teen, frequency of spanking by mother
0.081
.089*
0.05
As a pre-teen, frequency of spanking by father
0.075
.104*
0.006
As a teenager, frequency of spanking by mother
.112*
.137**
0.02
As a teenager, frequency of spanking by father
.086*
.125**
-0.037
The Bahamas
I could approve of a wife slapping her husband.
1
I could approve of a husband slapping his wife.
.533**
1
The man should be the achiever outside the home
0.098
0.111
1
As a pre-teen, frequency of spanking by mother
-0.028
-0.02
-0.055
As a pre-teen, frequency of spanking by father
-0.046
0.067
-0.057
As a teenager, frequency of spanking by mother
-0.030
0.008
0.029
As a teenager, frequency of spanking by father
0.055
0.065
0.126
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
Table 7
Attitudes of students towards spanking their children, by country, United States (US) and The Bahamas (BS), being spanked/hit
as a child (percentage who do/would spank)
Ever slapped by father, when a preteen
Ever slapped by mother, when a preteen
No
Yes
p
No
Yes
p
If I have children, I will spank them
US
30.4
55.6
<0.001
22.0
56.4
<0.001
BS
82.1
93.3
0.062
50.0
92.4
0.004
I have children and I have spanked or hit them
US
7.1
25.0
0.028
9.4
21.9
0.16
BS
44.4
68.8
0.4
50.0
61.5
>0.99
Ever slapped by father, when a teen
Ever slapped by mother, when a teen
No
Yes
p
No
Yes
p
If I have children, I will spank them
US
43.6
53.5
0.12
40.4
60.0
<0.001
BS
88.8
91.5
0.77
78.0
94.8
0.005
I have children and I have spanked or hit them
US
18.7
11.1
0.73
16.9
19.4
0.79
BS
43.8
88.9
0.040
42.9
65.0
0.39
Fisher’s exact test p value.
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 49
Student Anger Associated with Violence
in the Home
Anger is an important factor in violence.
Students were asked about frequency of
angry outbursts (on a scale, Never = 1, to
Always = 6) and this was correlated with the
frequency of other violence to which they
had either been subjected or might have
observed while growing up (Table 8). In
both student communities, violence in the
home was linked with more frequent angry
outbursts in the students.
Table 8
Correlations (Kendall’s’ tau rτ) of frequency of violence acts
Student
has angry
outbursts.
Preteen,
spanked by
father
figure
Preteen,
spanked by
mother
figure
As teenager,
spanked by
father figure
As teenager,
spanked by
mother
figure
Father figure
hit mother
figure
Mother
figure hit
father
figure
United States
Student has angry
outbursts.
1.00
Preteen, spanked by
father figure
0.03 1.00
Preteen, spanked by
mother figure
.07* .35** 1.00
As teenager, spanked
by father figure
.13** .46** .22** 1.00
As teenager, spanked
by mother figure
.12** .15** .41** .40** 1.00
Father figure hit
mother figure
.11** .19** .14** .26** .16** 1.00
Mother figure hit
father figure
0.04 .08* .22** .14** .29** .53** 1.00
The Bahamas
Student has angry
outbursts.
1.00
Preteen, spanked by
father figure
-0.02 1.00
Preteen, spanked by
mother figure
0.10 .17** 1.00
As teenager, spanked
by father figure
0.09 .46** .18** 1.00
As teenager, spanked
by mother figure
.13* .20** .37** .37** 1.00
Father figure hit
mother figure
.20* 0.11 0.14 .20** .16* 1.00
Mother figure hit
father figure
.17* 0.04 0.13 0.06 0.11 .41** 1.00
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
For both student groups, the frequency of
angry outbursts was related to killing a pet (U
= 1732, p = .048), but not with harming a
stray animal (U = 6199.5, p =.14). Similarly,
frequency of anger was associated with
violence (hitting etc.) directed by the student
towards a dating partner (overall, U = 44862,
p = .002, American students, U = 27336, p =
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
50 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
.008, Bahamian students, U = 2065.5, p =
.064). More extreme violence towards a date
such as attacking with a weapon was also
related with frequency of anger outbursts
(American students, U = 6626, p = .05:
Bahamian group, U = 671, p = .023). Despite
the fact that only a total of eight students had
forced their partner to have sexual relations
using physical force, this action still tended to
be linked with frequency of anger outbursts
(U = 1577.5, p = .084).
DISCUSSION
The results from this study allow us to
compare violence in the lives of college
students from the United States of America
and a Caribbean country, namely The
Bahamas. It appears to be the first study not
limited to official statistics to do so in these
two contrasting communities. The
comparison of students at colleges from both
the United States of America and The
Bahamas allows us to start to put into
perspective the claims by McEwen (2010)
that The Bahamas suffers from high levels of
violence in its homes.
We are aware, however, of the limitations of
the study. For example, the sample was self-
selected and this may have introduced bias
into the results. However, as similar
incentives were used to recruit respondents,
this may have standardized the bias in each
group. There is also a large disparity between
the numbers of participants from each
institution. This was expected given the size
of each institution but this may mean some
statistical differences found only in the
American sample may be a result of the
smaller sample size from The Bahamas,
rather than the differences not being
consistent across both student groups.
Additionally since the target population was
college students, the results of this study
should not be considered to necessarily apply
at the national level.
While the students from The Bahamas
represent a fairly homogenous group, those
from the United States were more diverse.
Despite the ethnic differences between the
two groups of students, the composition of
residential parental figures in student homes
was generally similar, and so it could be
expected that this might provide a similar
learning experience as to how adults interact
with each other. However, notwithstanding
this similarity in household composition, the
educational attainment of fathers and mothers
was different in the United States and The
Bahamas. This exposure to education
influences problem-solving skills (Gokhale,
1995) and this may account, in part, for
differences is the use of spanking between the
Bahamian and American parents. Given the
linkage between household size and domestic
violence (e.g., Flake & Forste, 2006) and the
economic pressures which can exist in
Bahamian homes it can be anticipated that
these factors can increase the risk of violence
in homes (Hahnlen, Rosado, Capozzi &
Hamon, 1997). These findings support the
importance of education in helping to reduce
the level of violence in society, and that the
value of education goes beyond skills which
are valued by the workplace.
It is clear that Bahamian students in this study
were subjected to more violence in their
homes than American students. The
ubiquitous nature of violence in Bahamian
homes, combined with the smaller sample
size may have prevented some other
spanking-related associations noted in the
American group from being detected in the
Bahamian sample. Carroll et al. (2011) and
Brennen et al. (2010) have demonstrated that
corporal punishment is common in Bahamian
households, a finding repeated here. Indeed,
as reported by D’Avanzo (2008) this is a
cultural norm in West Indian communities.
The association between the parental use of
spanking and its long-term effects were
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students. 51
implied by the responses from both groups of
students. This included intergenerational
violence, through the intention of students to
spank their own children, and the use of
violence towards their dating partners.
Negative parenting skills are thought to
contribute to violence in Jamaican society
(Smith & Mosby, 2003) and the findings of
this study support the linking of the actions of
parents with the behaviour of their adult
children. This is a cause for concern.
Despite the cultural differences of
respondents within this study, inter-
generational violence was found which
manifested itself in several violent
behaviours of students. The frequency of
being spanked as children was linked with
increased frequency of anger outbursts as
young adults, and this in turn was linked with
violent behaviour of students towards people
and animals. Consequently, it is possible to
conjecture that parental actions towards
children, as exhibited by frequent spanking,
contributes to the rearing of students who are
liable to more outbursts of temper and violent
behaviour. Clarey, Hokoda, and Ulloa (2010)
studied anger and violence towards dating
partners in Mexico finding that it can be
influenced by the violent experiences of
students, including parental violence. While
appreciation of intergenerational violence is
not new, as Kim notes “is not at all
deterministic, and there is considerable
individual variation in individuals’ responses
to early experiences with violence” (2012, p.
395). This caveat is important as it allows for
the possibility that violence can be transferred
to future generations. Consequently, there is a
need for interventions which address anger
control for both parents and children. While
the reasons for there being a higher
occurrence of mother-on-father violence
reported in the Bahamian group compared to
the American group cannot be provided by
this study, the results suggest that Bahamian
students may be more likely to learn that
violence is a normal part of adult
interpersonal relationships than American
students. It is also suggested that public
figures (e.g., from politicians to pop stars) be
positive role models, rather than ones who
glorify abuse and violence (e.g., Missick,
2014; Eminem, 2010). Public glorification of
interpersonal violence implies violence is a
behaviour that should be imitated and so
perpetuated.
Bahamian and American students had
different attitudes towards gender roles with
Bahamian students being more supportive of
the traditional stereotype of the man as the
breadwinner and by implication the head of
the household, a view expressed by
Bahamian politicians (Cartwright-Rolle,
2014), even though this contradicts the
current norm of both parents having a job
(Nicolls et al, 2014). Frequency of spanking
was linked with student attitudes towards
gender roles in the American group but not in
the Bahamian group. Further study would be
required to investigate this in detail. While
the findings in the American group are
consistent with the propagation of
intergenerational violence, any similar
connection in The Bahamian group is
probably masked by the overall common use
of spanking, which could hide such a
relationship.
Despite the increased violence to which
Bahamian students were exposed compared
to American students, Bahamian students
were no more violent in their own actions
than American students. Kim (2012) suggests
that any mechanism which may link exposure
to violence in childhood can be and is
modified in ways not captured in this study
and so may be associated “personal and
cultural factors” (p. 395) or a cultural
“construction of reality and meanings
attached to violence” (p. 403). This indicates
a need for further research to identify factors
The International Journal of Bahamian Studies Vol. 21 #1 (2015)
52 Fielding, Risley-Curtiss & Cronin. Violence in the lives of college students.
which intervene to alter the linkage between
being a victim as a child and a victimizer as
an adult. It is of interest to note that the only
significant difference between the Bahamian
and American students in Table 4 indicated a
higher level of violence towards female
students in the United States than the
Bahamian group. We need to be aware that
there could have been cultural differences in
the self-reporting of violence, especially since
(a) overall respondents were
disproportionately female and (b) American
respondents included proportionately more
females than the Bahamian group. So for
example there may be greater denial, or
appreciation of these actions in the Bahamian
group than in the American group. Brennen et
al (2010) showed that residents of The
Bahamas tend to consider what might be
viewed as grievous bodily harm as physical
abuse. Henning, Jones and Holdford (2005)
noted differences in denial concerning
domestic violence between males and
females, so we cannot rule out the possibility
of socially desirable responding, despite the
confidential manner in which the data were
collected. If denial is an issue, then students
may need to be educated about violence as
proposed by Paquette (2004).
Fielding (2008) has demonstrated differences
in the attitudes towards animals in the United
States and The Bahamas but the link between
animal cruelty and domestic violence in The
Bahamas (Fielding & Plumridge, 2010) is
consistent with that noted elsewhere
(Ascione, 2008). As might be expected,
relatively few respondents had harmed
animals, but consistent with their exposure to
violence at home, Bahamian students were
more likely than American students to harm
or torture an animal. The harm inflicted upon
animals by students appeared to be associated
with the frequency of parental spanking of
their children. This is consistent with other
research that suggests animal abuse is a red
flag for family violence. The study also
showed that family members use harming
animals to control people. These findings are
consistent with those in other studies
(Ascione, 2008).
This study allows us to compare and contrast
violence and attitudes towards violence in the
lives of college/university students, but does
not allow us to explain why these
attitudes/actions arise. While it is apparent
that parental behaviours have important
impacts on the behaviour of children, ever-
increasing levels of violence towards children
would not appear to be simply associated
with ever-increasing levels of violence in
children as young adults. Although the
mechanism linking childhood experience
with violence may be complex, it is clear that
programmes that target the reduction of
corporal punishment of children are
potentially important in reducing violence
when those children become adults. It also
again raises the question of whether or not
corporal punishment of children should be
permitted (e.g., Oas, 2010; Lenta, 2012).
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... It should be noted that physical violence is common in Bahamian homes, as it is commonly used to discipline children . Violence is more common in Bahamian homes than those in the United States, and the person who is most likely to discipline the children is the mother (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015). This violence can lead to abuse of the children and help to perpetuate the cycle of violence (Brennen et al, 2010). ...
... However, simple comparisons with United States colleges may not be an appropriate frame of reference for this study because many U.S. colleges are residential, and so their students, unlike students in The Bahamas, do not typically live in the community and home setting, even when they are full-time students. U.S. college students experience less physical violence than their counterparts in The Bahamas (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015), so it might be expected that Bahamian students may be at higher risk than U.S. students of sexual abuse if it is assumed that sexual abuse is associated with physical violence. In college student households in The Bahamas, Plumridge and Fielding (2009) showed that homes in which domestic violence occurred also had an elevated risk of also being homes in which sexual abuse occurred. ...
... It should be noted that physical violence is common in Bahamian homes, as it is commonly used to discipline children . Violence is more common in Bahamian homes than those in the United States, and the person who is most likely to discipline the children is the mother (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015). This violence can lead to abuse of the children and help to perpetuate the cycle of violence (Brennen et al, 2010). ...
... However, simple comparisons with United States colleges may not be an appropriate frame of reference for this study because many U.S. colleges are residential, and so their students, unlike students in The Bahamas, do not typically live in the community and home setting, even when they are full-time students. U.S. college students experience less physical violence than their counterparts in The Bahamas (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015), so it might be expected that Bahamian students may be at higher risk than U.S. students of sexual abuse if it is assumed that sexual abuse is associated with physical violence. In college student households in The Bahamas, Plumridge and Fielding (2009) showed that homes in which domestic violence occurred also had an elevated risk of also being homes in which sexual abuse occurred. ...
Book
Full-text available
In 2022, University of The Bahamas partnered with the Bahamas Crisis Centre in a series of lectures to increase public awareness about gender-based violence. In support of this initiative a collection of papers has been pulled together in a book entitled “Sexual Violence in The Bahamas” which will serve as an introduction for those who wish to learn more about this topic of national concern. The papers selected by the editors provide a background to sexual violence in The Bahamas as well as demonstrate how such violence is associated with many aspects of life such as corporal punishment, bullying and mental heath. This volume situates the findings of these papers in case studies of both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence.
... However, simple comparisons with United States colleges may not be an appropriate frame of reference for this study because many U.S. colleges are residential, and so their students, unlike students in The Bahamas, do not typically live in the community and home setting, even when they are full-time students. U.S. college students experience less physical violence than their counterparts in The Bahamas (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015), so it might be expected that Bahamian students may be at higher risk than U.S. students of sexual abuse if it is assumed that sexual abuse is associated with physical violence. In college student households in The Bahamas, Plumridge and Fielding (2009) showed that homes in which domestic violence occurred also had an elevated risk of also being homes in which sexual abuse occurred. ...
... Equally, however, it may also suggest that Bahamian female students are more likely to accede to coercive demands than female Canadian students, which points to an atmosphere of greater struggle between university males and females in The Bahamas than Canada. This conflict is consistent with university students in The Bahamas emerging from more violent backgrounds than their North American counterparts (Fielding et al., 2015) and gender-based violence in The Bahamas (Bethell-Bennett, 2016b). ...
Article
Full-text available
The Bahamas is reported to have a high incidence of rape. As lack of consent prior to sexual intercourse is typically associated with sexual abuse or rape, this paper focuses on the provision of consent prior to sexual intercourse arising from the sexual experiences of university students in The Bahamas. This Internet-based study of 621 students (74.1% female and 25.4% male, with 0.5% indicating that their sex was "other") indicates that-if the legal interpretation of rape is applied to the sexual experiences of study participants-almost half were victims of rape or sexual abuse. None of the males who admitted to being victims of rape reported the event. This suggests that males, as well as many female rape/sexual abuse victims, may never receive the help they need to help them recover from their attack. Female students in The Bahamas who consent to unwanted sexual intercourse appear to have been pressured to a greater extent than their counterparts in North America.
... We should note that the modal level of education is secondary school (which was also evident in the 2010 Census, Bahamas Department of Statistics, 2012), and so the attitudes associated with this level of education will dominate those of society as a whole. Consequently, the finding that about one in eight of mothers with secondary education think that is it necessary to use physical discipline on a child is important, particularly as it is mothers who are those primarily responsible for administering corporal punishment (Fielding et al., 2015). Identification with a religious community also influences attitudes towards corporal punishment (Table 6). ...
... Brennen et al.'s 2016 study also indicates that the level of violence considered as abuse in the Bahamian context is more in line with what would be termed grievous bodily harm elsewhere. Fielding et al. (2015) demonstrated that college students in The Bahamas were subject to more corporal punishment than their counterparts in the United States of America and this in turn was linked with Bahamian students having higher risks of exhibiting behaviours of concern when an adult, for example anger, which again points to the longer-term consequences of corporal punishment. The consequences of anger in the Bahamian context have been discussed by Bethel et al. (2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
This review of the literature concerning corporal punishment arising from The Bahamas enables us to identify several strands: (1) corporal punishment is an historically accepted method of controlling children which only recently has been called into question; (2) school teachers have typically seen corporal punishment as a useful classroom management tool; (3) there has been unease about its use in schools which has resulted in its regulation; (4) more recently, there has been evidence of the awareness of the long-term negative effects of corporal punishment; and (5) the rise of social media has made corporal punishment and its potential abuses visible to a wider audience. These strands appear to have woven together to move the country in a direction of outlawing corporal punishment, at least in schools.
... Given that many children are hit with an object, their risk of abuse is elevated beyond being spanked or slapped (Zolotor et al., 2008). We should also note that in a comparative study of college students in the United States and The Bahamas, Bahamian students were subject to more corporal punishment than their American peers (Fielding et al., 2015). Studies on violence in The Bahamas Fielding & Ballance, 2021b) suggest that corporal punishment is part of the domestic landscape in which Bahamian children are reared, which is consistent with studies from the Caribbean region (Landon et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Corporal punishment is a common means of disciplining children in Bahamian homes. Previous studies in The Bahamas have linked the justification for its use with religious beliefs. An Internet survey employing a snowball sampling method resulted in 1,570 persons participating in a study designed to focus on the association between biblical influence and attitudes toward corporal punishment; namely, is there an association with biblical influence in the lives of participants and their attitudes towards corporal punishment of children? This study found that those most influenced by biblically based teachings were most likely to support the use of corporal punishment on their children. The results show that while overall belief in the Lord God of the Bible is associated with the use of corporal punishment, there is divergence between Christians to the extent corporal punishment is justified by the biblical texts, as well as how much participants' lives were modelled on biblical precepts (specifically, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes). The divergence of opinions within the Christian population, which represents over 90% of the population of The Bahamas, indicates that attempts by the state to regulate the practice of corporal punishment will need to be promoted by pastors to make messages on nonviolent discipline of children acceptable to Christians in The Bahamas.
... The responses of females towards corporal punishment are probably more important than those of males. This is because in Bahamian households the mother-figure is more likely that the father-figure to inflict punishment upon their children (Fielding et al., 2015). Again Biblical justification was relatively common with 10 of 73 respondents referencing this source. ...
Research
Full-text available
This paper reports some of the qualitative responses obtained from a recent study on KAP with respect to the use of corporal punishment on children in The Bahamas.
... Given that many children are hit with an object, their risk of abuse is elevated beyond being spanked or slapped (Zolotor et al., 2008). We should also note that in a comparative study of college students in the United States and The Bahamas, Bahamian students were subject to more corporal punishment than their American peers (Fielding et al., 2015). Studies on violence in The Bahamas Fielding & Ballance, 2021b) suggest that corporal punishment is part of the domestic landscape in which Bahamian children are reared, which is consistent with studies from the Caribbean region (Landon et al., 2017). ...
... Given the increased stress to which caregivers have been subjected because of loss of jobs and fear of contracting Covid-19 (Hutcheson et al., 2020), it is understandable that caregivers may not be as patient as previously with their children. Further, the imbalance of the stress caused by Covid-19, which increases the stress in women more than the men, is important as women are more responsible than men for disciplining children in The Bahamas (Fielding et al., 2015). ...
Research
Full-text available
Incidental findings from a study on knowledge, attitudes and practices on corporal punishment on children in the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 in The Bahamas show that children were at greater risk of psychological aggression when their caregivers were more concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic, than those caregivers who were unconcerned about the pandemic. There was moderate evidence that children in such homes were also more likely to be at risk of abuse through the use of severe corporal punishment methods. The findings suggest that Covid-19 had effects which are more widespread than just "counting cases", and that some of these effects may be detrimental in the long term if children are not given the help they may require.
... It should be noted that physical violence is common in Bahamian homes, as it is commonly used to discipline children (Fielding et al., 2016). Violence is more common in Bahamian homes than those in the United States, and the person who is most likely to discipline the children is the mother (Fielding, Risley-Curtiss, & Cronin, 2015). This violence can lead to abuse of the children and help to perpetuate the cycle of violence (Brennen et al, 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
Gender-based violence continues to be a source of concern in The Bahamas. Structural inequality between the sexes is present in the law and cultural attitudes can work to circumscribe the expectations of women. Such attitudes are reinforced through messages from various sources. This paper presents the results from an Internet-based survey of 1,279 participants to examine how Bahamian citizens learn their attitudes towards women. The most important influence on Bahamians was the participant's mother. She, in turn, was influenced by the messages she received from faith-based sources. Official governmental sources of information and the opinions of politicians and school teachers appeared to be less influential. This disparity suggests that within The Bahamas, changes in attitudes towards women will require a more enlightened message to be taught and reinforced by faith-based organizations.
Article
Full-text available
In an Internet-based study, 1,583 Bahamian adults living in The Bahamas were asked about their knowledge, attitudes, and practices relating to corporal punishment. The study confirmed the attitudes and practices towards corporal punishment reported in other studies. Both male and female respondents were physically punished as children (92.4% of males and 87.1% of females). The study indicated that a limited number of participants had knowledge of the detrimental effects of corporal punishment; for example, 28% of male and 36.2% of female participants agreed that corporal punishment was associated with learning problems at school. Respondents with more knowledge about the effects of corporal punishment were less likely to use disciplinary methods of concern. There was a strong link between knowledge and attitudes and between attitudes and experiences of physical punishment in the childhood of respondents. The data suggest that education about the detrimental effects of corporal punishment could help to reduce its use and prevent children from suffering the unintended consequences of corporal punishment.
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports the attitudes and actions on relationships with the opposite sex of 1,002 Grade 10 and Grade 12 students in New Providence. Girls were more likely than boys to use aggressive behaviours in teen relationships. Some of the behaviours noted in teen relationships informed expectations of marital relationships, such as restricted access to friends of the opposite sex. The students endorsed a number of sex-related stereotypes, such as a man being the head of the household. Both male and female students indicated that it was acceptable for men to control their wives. Participation in aggressive and controlling behaviours by teens points to the need to educate students about how to develop more respectful relationships.
Book
This book seeks to analyze the issue of race in America after the election of Barack Obama. For the author, the U.S. criminal justice system functions can act as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it adheres to the principle of color blindness.
Article
The link between interpersonal violence and violence to animals has been suggested, but rarely studied empirically, especially by family scholars. This study of 267 college undergraduates examined the relationship between corporal punishment inflicted by parents and the perpetration of animal abuse. The findings revealed that males who committed animal cruelty in childhood or adolescence were physically punished more frequently by their fathers, both as preteens and teenagers, than males who did not perpetrate animal abuse. This relationship did not hold for males spanked by mothers or for females spanked by either parent. Regression analyses showed that the association between fathers' corporal punishment and sons' childhood animal cruelty persisted after controlling for child abuse, father-to-mother violence, and father's education. The implications of the association of animal abuse and family violence and its gendered nature are discussed.
Article
The intergenerational transmission of violence has been one of the most rigorously researched hypotheses in violence research in recent decades. A number of previous studies have provided evidence supporting this hypothesis, and there has been a growing body of literature investigating its mechanism. However, the role of culture in the intergenerational transmission of violence has not received much research attention, and thus, it remains largely unknown. To suggest a better theoretical basis for understanding the role of culture in the transmission mechanism, the present paper examines three critical theories that address the intergenerational phenomenon: Dodge's social information processing theory, Nisbett's cultural cognitive theory and Turiel's social-cognitive domain theory. The paper provides a review of the basic assumptions and core concepts of each theory and identifies the potential contributions and gaps of each theory. The three theories present different accounts of the ontogenetic origins of ideas about violence and convey different portraits of the intergenerational mechanism. However, these theories also show that they are highly likely to be related to one another and that they can help close one another's gaps. This paper suggests that a unified framework that can merge the personal and cultural factors of causation is necessary to better capture the dynamic interplay among culture, experiences with violence and the actual enactment of violent behaviours.
Article
This article discusses how, after about 50 years of displaying an impressively stable incarceration rate, the United States in the late 1970s began a dramatic prison population increase of about 6% annually, leading to the current status of world leader in incarceration rates. Examination of the factors contributing to the prison population growth suggests the trend is a consequence of policy choices imposed on the criminal justice system. A major factor in that growth has been an increase by a factor of 10 in the incarceration of drug offenders. Findings show that though incarceration may have achieved some incapacitative effects, it led to the recruitment of younger replacements whose limited restraint with guns represented a far greater threat to public safety than the individuals they replaced. A recent proposal by Senator Webb for a National Criminal Justice Commission to address these problems represents an important opportunity to restore rationality to the policies and to provide significant cost savings. This will require a commitment by commission members to avoid partisanship and converge to policies that will serve strong interests of both parties.
Article
This Article considers how the mass incarceration story has played out over the past forty years in three medium-sized, Midwestern states, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The three stories are similar in many respects, but notable differences are also apparent. For instance, Minnesota’s imprisonment rate is less than half that of the other two states, while Indiana imprisons more than twice as many drug offenders as either of its peers. The Article seeks to unpack these and other imprisonment trends and to relate them to crime and arrest data over time, focusing particularly on the relative importance of violent crime and drug enforcement as drivers of imprisonment growth.