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Ethnicity, gender and coercive sexual attitudes and ethnic differences in childhood abuse and trauma Kennedy, Margaret Alexis 1998

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ETHNICITY, GENDER A N D COERCIVE S E X U A L ATTITUDES and ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN CHILDHOOD A B U S E A N D T R A U M A by M A R G A R E T ALEXIS K E N N E D Y BA, The University of Toronto, 1990 L L B , The University of Manitoba, 1993  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Psychology)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A April, 1998 © M . Alexis Kennedy, 1998  In  presenting this  degree  at the  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  representatives.  an advanced  Library shall make it  agree that permission for extensive  scholarly purposes may be her  for  It  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  ABSTRACT:  CHAPTER 1 - ETHNICITY, GENDER AND COERCIVE SEXUAL ATTITUDES This study explored potential differences between Asian and non-Asian university students in attitudes towards coercive and non-coercive sexual behaviour. Four hundred respondents (205 Asian, 195 non-Asian) were assessed on attitudes toward rape, sexual harassment and non-coercive sexual behaviour. Gender differences and interactions between gender and ethnicity were also examined. Further, length of residency in Canada of Asian respondents was examined to determine whether "Westernization" might attenuate differences between Asians and non-Asians. Statistical analysis revealed that Asian students were significantly more conservative in attitudes towards noncoercive sexual behaviour, tolerance of rape myths and acceptance of sexual harassment. Length of residency in Canada decreased conservatism in attitudes towards tolerance of rape myths and acceptance of sexual harassment. By contrast, length of residency in Canada had almost no effect on attitudes towards non-coercive sexual behaviour. On almost all items, women were less conservative than men of the same ethnic background.  CHAPTER II - ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN CHILDHOOD ABUSE AND TRAUMA This study explored potential differences between university students of Asian and nonAsian origin in experiences of childhood maltreatment. Eleven hundred and fifteen respondents (615 Asian, 500 non-Asian) were assessed for their self-reported experiences of child abuse and trauma. Potential gender differences and interactions between gender and ethnicity were also examined. Further, length of residency in Canada of Asian respondents was examined to determine whether "Westernization" might attenuate differences between Asians and non-Asians. Statistical analysis  revealed that Asian students reported significantly more negative experiences in childhood and adolescence. Asian students reported significantly higher levels of punishment, negative home environment and neglect. Increased length of residency in Canada resulted in a decrease in reported levels of punishment but not other types of childhood maltreatment. Significant gender differences were found on relatively few items and there were no interactions between gender and ethnicity.  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  List of Tables  *  v  Acknowledgements  C H A P T E R I Ethnicity, gender and coercive sexual attitudes 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6  Introduction Methods Results Discussion References Tables 1-7  C H A P T E R II Ethnic differences in childhood abuse and trauma 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6  Introduction Methods Results Discussion References Tables 8-13  y  v / /  1 1 5 7 12 17 20  27 27 32 34 38 45 49  iv  LIST O F T A B L E S Table 1  Country of birth of respondents (N=400)  20  Table 2  Differences in rape myth acceptance for Asian and non-Asian respondents  21  Differences in rape myth acceptance for Asian respondents grouped by length of residency in Canada  22  Differences in sexual harassment attitudes for Asian and non-Asian respondents  23  Differences in sexual harassment attitudes for Asian respondents grouped by length of residency in Canada  24  Differences in sexual attitudes for Asian and non-Asian respondents  25  Table 3  Table 4  Table 5  Table 6  Table 7  Differences in sexual attitudes for Asian respondents grouped by length of residency in Canada  26  Table 8  Country of birth of respondents (N=1115)  49  Table 9  Child abuse and trauma items for Asian and non-Asian respondents - Negative home environment and neglect items  Table 10  Table 11  Table 12  Table 13  ...50  Child abuse and trauma items for Asian and non-Asian respondents - Punishment items  51  Child abuse and trauma items for Asian respondents Punishment items  52  Child abuse and trauma items for Asian and non-Asian respondents - Sexual abuse items  53  Child abuse and trauma items for Asian and non-Asian respondents - General items and composite score for all 3 8 items ...54  v.  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  I would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and contribution of my supervisor, Dr. Boris Gorzalka. Dr. Gorzalka has shown incredible patience, particularly when I was impatient to get his feedback on various drafts and impatient to get through this degree as quickly as possible. I would also like to thank Dr. Gorzalka for taking a risk by accepting me as a graduate student. He has encouraged my non-conventional ideas, paths, course choices and tolerated my occasional lapses into acting like a lawyer instead of a future psychologist. I would like to acknowledge the support and encouragement Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. John Yuille have shown me while I have been making this career change. They have welcomed me into their labs and invited my legal point of view into forensic debates. I would like to thank Dr. Hare for serving as my committee Chairperson and Dr. Mark Schaller for participating on the committee. Most importantly, I would like to acknowledge my husband and former law partner, Allan Rosenhek. Without his emotional and financial support, I never would have been able to return to school to follow a new path. I deeply appreciate the hours he spent photocopying my research questionnaires and editing my presentation graphs.  CHAPTER I ETHNICITY, GENDER AND C O E R C I V E SEXUAL ATTITUDES Estimates of the number of people who will experience sexual assault in North America range from 14 to 25% (Koss, 1993). Studies of coercive sexual behaviours and attitudes may assist in defining the problem of sexual assault more clearly and may facilitate an understanding of the reasons behind sexual coercion in our society. The objective of this paper is to explore ethnic differences in attitudes towards coercive sexual behaviours. Given the fairly consistent gender differences found in attitudes towards coercive sexual behaviour (Muehlenhard & Linton, 1987; Dye & Roth, 1990; Ellis, O'Sullivan & Sowards, 1992), the relationship between ethnicity and gender will also be explored. Furthermore, to determine whether the present results are specific to sexual coercion, attitudes toward non-coercive sexual behaviour will be compared. In the past two decades Canada and the United States have experienced a large influx of people emigrating from Asian countries in particular. In the 1980's and the c  early 1990's immigration from Asia accounted for over 50 percent of the total immigration to Canada and over 10 percent of Canada's national growth (Statistics Canada, 1993). Since 1971, in the United States approximately 36 percent of new immigrants have been from Asia (U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996). To understand sexual behaviour and attitudes in this diverse North America, potential influences of ethnicity need to be considered. However, a survey of the past twentyfive years of research on sexuality revealed that less than 50% of these reports described the ethnicity of the participants (Wiederman, Maynard & Fretz, 1996). Even the most ambitious surveys of sexual behaviour and attitudes such as the Kinsey reports (Kinsey, Pomeroy & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin & Gebhard, 1953) and subsequent reports such as that of Janus & Janus (1993) did not include  1  ethnicity as a variable. In North American studies, statistical analyses combining students as if they were one concordant subject pool may have masked significant effects of ethnicity. Recent research at the University of British Columbia, one of Canada's largest universities, has found that 34-45% of participating subjects were born outside of North America (Meston, Trapnell and Gorzalka, 1996; in press). It would be wrong to assume that subject pools in Canada and the United States represent an ethnically homogeneous group. Relatively little work has been done comparing sexual behaviours and attitudes of Asians and non-Asians living in North America. In particular, attitudes towards sexual coercion among Asians in North America have rarely been investigated even though racial or ethnic differences in such attitudes have been reported for other groups. For example, in the United States, both African-American and Hispanic students were found to be more tolerant of rape myths than White students (Giacopassi & Dull, 1986; Fischer, 1987). Tolerance of violence or coercion in sexual encounters has been measured in North America by examining attitudes that support rape stereotypes and myths (Giacopassi & Dull, 1986; Ellis, O'Sullivan & Sowards, 1992; as reviewed in Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994). Moreover, studies on acceptance of rape myths have found fairly consistent gender differences. Specifically women are usually less tolerant of rape myths than men from the same subject pool (Ellis, O'Sullivan & Sowards, 1992; Muehlenhard & Linton, 1987; Dye & Roth, 1990). Tolerance of sexual harassment is another area of coercive attitudes where differences between Asian and non-Asian students remain to be explored. Although the behaviours of sexual harassment have been around for many years, definitions and a consciousness of the negative consequences of harassment are relatively recent.  2  Investigations of the perception of sexual harassment have found gender differences in definition, and women appear to be less tolerant toward this behaviour (Tang, Yik, Cheung, Choi, & Au, 1995; Mazer & Percival, 1989; for review see Quina, 1990). We know very little about the effects of North American culture, particularly attitudes towards coercive sexuality and how living in North America may affect the relatively conservative sexual attitudes of Asians. Previous research indicates that Asian respondents tend to be more conservative in their sexual behaviour (Chan, 1990; Fan et al., 1995; Meston et al., 1996). One American study found that Asian students were significantly less likely to participate in oral sex or sexual intercourse, their participation began at an older age and this sexual conservatism remained even after background variables (household income, mother's education, raised by two original parents, and religious exposure) were held constant (Baldwin, Whiteley & Baldwin, 1992). Research conducted in this laboratory has shown an interaction between ethnicity and sexual attitudes. Significant differences in attitudes towards sexuality have been found between Asian and non-Asian subjects in Canada (Meston et al., in press). Overall, non-Asian subjects were more sexually knowledgeable and held less conservative sexual attitudes than Asian subjects. Asian subjects held significantly more conservative views on homosexuality, masturbation, multiple partners, oral sex, premarital sex, prudery and sex roles. Asian subjects also scored as significantly more conservative on all sociosexual restrictiveness items, i.e., attitudes toward "casual" sex. There has been speculation that the permeation of Western ideals into Asian communities would lead to increased openness in sexuality. However, some evidence contradicts this. First, studies comparing Chinese communities in different parts of  3  Asia found that university students in Shanghai were actually less conservative than their counterparts in Hong Kong, a more "Westernized" community (Fan et al., 1995). Secondly, research conducted in this laboratory found that length of residency in Canada led to an increased openness on some but not all measures of sexual behaviour and attitudes (Meston et al., 1996; in press). Comparisons of sexual attitudes and knowledge among Asian subjects grouped by length of residency in Canada found significant differences on a few items. Canadian-born Asians were significantly more sexually knowledgeable on 4 of the 26 sexual information items than recent Asian immigrants. Canadian-born Asian subjects were also significantly less conservative on 11 of 30 general sexual attitudes items and on 1 of 8 sociosexual restrictiveness items than recent Asian immigrants. However, on all other items the two groups did not differ from each other even though both groups differed from non-Asians. These results suggest that cultural differences in sexuality may not be immediately or consistently affected by increased exposure to Western mores. The present study was designed to compare the effects of ethnicity and gender on attitudes towards both non-coercive and coercive sexual behaviour. Further, the length of residency in Canada was examined to see if "Westernization" might differentially influence or moderate attitudes towards non-coercive and coercive sexual behaviour. Attitudes towards non-coercive sexual behaviour were measured by techniques employed previously in our laboratory (Meston et al., in press). Attitudes towards coercive sexuality were measured through tolerance of rape myths and sexual harassment. The present study will reveal whether the conservative trend among Asians in North America will extend into attitudes about coercive sexuality and will determine whether gender differences are consistent among both Asians and nonAsians.  4  METHODS Participants & Procedure Participants were University of British Columbia undergraduate students who volunteered to complete a self-report questionnaire in exchange for course credits in their first or second year courses in the Department of Psychology. The questionnaires were completed between January and April of 1997. The final sample size was four hundred respondents (273 women and 127 men). Our analyses did not include data from two respondents because of incomplete or missing answers. Participants completed the questionnaire in small groups of 10 or less. Privacy was ensured through the use of visual barriers separating respondents while they were completing the questionnaire. The respondents deposited their completed questionnaires in a sealed box. Confidentiality was ensured and no names or student numbers were collected with the data. All respondents were advised of their right to withdraw from the study at any point without a loss of participation credits. No respondents withdrew from the study. Demographic information was collected for all subjects who were required to provide their age, gender, country of birth, country of birth of parents, age of arrival in Canada (if not born in Canada), first language and ethnic group to which the respondents felt they belonged.  Over 65% of the respondents were born in Canada,  28% were born in South East Asia and 6% were born elsewhere. Table 1 summarizes the countries of birth for the respondents. Insert Table 1 here The respondents were grouped into non-Asian (195 respondents, 138 women and 57 men) and Asian (205 respondents, 135 women and 70 men) ethnic origins.  5  The Asian category included South-East Asian countries of ethnic origin (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, etc.) but did not include West Asian countries such as India or Pakistan.  Approximately 92 % of the Asian group identified themselves as ethnic  Chinese. The respondents of Asian origin were further separated into groups depending on their length of time in Canada. The following three sub-groups for Asians were used: born in Canada (89 respondents, 60 women and 29 men); arrived in Canada before the age of thirteen (53 respondents, 32 women and 21 men); and, arrived in Canada age thirteen or older (63 respondents, 43 women and 20 men). The average age for each of the ethnic sub-groups are: 20.19 for non-Asians; 18.97 for Asians born in Canada; 19.21 for Asians who arrived in Canada before age thirteen; and, 19.84 for Asians who arrived in Canada after age thirteen.  Measures Attitudes toward coercive sexual behaviour were measured using two different measures: the Rape Myth Acceptance (RMA) Scale (Burt, 1980); and, the Sexual Harassment Attitude Scale (Mazer & Percival, 1989). The R M A measurements used in our survey were 11 agree/disagree items from Burt's R M A Scale (1980). The items were measured on afive-pointscale ranging from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (5). The R M A Scale has been widely used for over 15 years. The Sexual Harassment Attitude (SHA) Scale consists of 19 items measuring perception of harassment including definitions, severity and frequency of behaviour. Respondents indicate the degree to which they agree or disagree with each statement on a five-point scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).  6  General attitudes towards sex were measured using the Sexual Attitudes subscale of the Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory (Derogatis, 1978). This 30item scale measures conservative or liberal views towards such sexual issues as: sex outside of marriage; masturbation and oral sex; sexual orientation; sex roles; pornography; and, different types of sexual behaviour. Attitudes are measured through agreement or disagreement on a five-point scale.  RESULTS Attitudes toward coercive sexuality The mean endorsement rates of Rape Myth Acceptance items for Asians and non-Asian are presented in Table 2. Table 3 presents the mean endorsement rate of Rape Myth items for Asians grouped by length of residency in Canada. Both Table 2 and Table 3 present the F-ratios of each item for the effects of gender, ethnicity (Asian versus non-Asian in Table 2; age of arrival of Asians in Canada in Table 3) and any interactions between these variables. Due to the problem of accumulating Type I error across the analyses, a Bonferroni correction was applied to the acceptable significance level resulting in an alpha value of .0045 for individual items. Composite scores are considered significant at a level of 0.017 to correct for the use of three scales. Significant differences are indicated with asterisks in Tables 2 and 3. Insert Table 2 here Insert Table 3 here Significant main effects of gender were found. As can be seen in Table 2, women were more likely to disagree with rape myths than men on all myths presented and women differed significantly from men on nine of the eleven items. For eight of the eleven items, gender differences were highly significant, i.e., p < .0001. Non-Asian  7  women disagreed with rape myths more than non-Asian men on all eleven items. The main effect of gender when non-Asian female subjects were compared to non-Asian male subjects on the composite score was highly significant (F = 47.00, p < .0001). Asian women disagreed with rape myths more than Asian men as Table 3 shows a significant main effect of gender for Asians' composite scores (F = 14.98, p < .0001). Further, when Asian respondents were grouped by length of residency in Canada, significant gender differences were found on two items, any female can get raped (F = 13.73, p <0001) and a woman who is stuck-up and thinks she is too good to talk to guys on the street deserves to be taught a lesson (F = 12.87, p <0001). Table 3 reveals that Asian women were almost always less tolerant of rape myths than Asian men within the same sub-group based on length of residency in Canada. Significant main effects of ethnicity were found for almost every rape myth item. As shown in Table 2, Asian respondents were significantly more tolerant of ten of the eleven rape myths than non-Asian respondents. The ten differences were highly significant, i.e., p <0001. Further, among Asian respondents, length of residency was associated with significant differences on most items. On nine of the eleven items, tolerance for rape myths decreased the longer Asian respondents had resided in Canada. There was only one item with a significant interaction between gender and length of residency in Canada as noted in Table 3. The composite R M A score over the eleven items revealed significant main effects for gender (F = 44.95, p <0001) and ethnicity (F = 101.89, p<0001) but no significant interaction between these two variables when Asian and non-Asian subjects were compared (see Table 2). The composite R M A scores revealed that Asian respondents who were born in Canada were significantly less tolerant of rape myths than both sub-groups of Asians born outside of Canada (see Table 3). Gender  8  differences among Asian respondents were also significant (F = 14.98, p < .0001). The length of residency in Canada also had a significant effect (F = 19.63, p < .0001). There was no interaction effect. Asian versus non-Asian respondents' mean endorsements for items on the Sexual Harassment Attitudes Scale are presented in Table 4. Mean endorsements for Asian respondents compared by length of residency in Canada are presented in Table 5. Corresponding item F-ratios for the effects of gender, ethnicity (Asian versus nonAsian in Table 4; age of arrival of Asians in Canada in Table 5) and any interactions between these variables are presented in both Tables 4 and 5. A Bonferroni correction was applied to account for the problem of accumulating Type I error across the analyses, with a resulting alpha level of 0.0026 for individual items. Composite scores are considered significant at a level of 0.017 to correct for the use of three scales. Significant differences are indicated with asterisks in Tables 4 and 5. Insert Table 4 here. Insert Table 5 here. Significant main effects of gender were found for fourteen of the nineteen items on sexual harassment. As can be seen in Table 4, men were more likely to be tolerant of sexual harassment than women on almost all items presented and women differed significantly from men on fourteen of these items. For twelve of the fourteen differences, gender differences were highly significant, p <0001. Further, when Asian respondents were grouped by length of residency in Canada, significant gender differences were found on three items, it is only natural for  a man to make sexual advances to a woman he finds attractive (F = 9.95, p <002), a lot of what people call sexual harassment is just normal flirtation between men and women (F = 15.47, p <0001) and sexual harassment refers to those incidents of  9  unwanted sexual attention that aren't too serious (F = 11.08, p <001).  Table 5  reveals that for the most part Asian women were almost always less tolerant of sexual harassment than Asian men with the same length of residency in Canada. As shown in Table 4, there were significant main effects of ethnicity on four items of sexual harassment. On each of these items, Asian respondents were more tolerant of sexual harassment than non-Asian respondents.  Significant differences  occurred on the following items, most women who are sexually insulted by a man provoke his behavior by the way they talk, act, or dress (F = 71.87, p <0001), the notion that what a professor does in class may be sexual harassment is taking the idea of sexual harassment too far (F = 13.67, p <0001), sexual harassment refers to those incidents of unwanted sexual attention that aren't too serious (F = 9.90, p <002), and sexual harassment has little to do with power (F = 16.29, p <0001). Further, among Asian respondents, length of residency was associated with significant differences on five items. Table 5 shows the five items where Asian respondents tended to tolerate sexual harassment less the longer they had been a resident of Canada. There was only one item that produced a significant interaction between gender and length of residency in Canada as noted in Table 5. The composite SHA score over the nineteen items revealed significant main effects for gender with men in all ethnic groups or sub-groups being more tolerant of harassment than women in all ethnic groups or sub-groups. As shown in Table 4, significant gender effects were found for composite scores (F = 69.944, p < .0001). Composite scores also revealed a substantial main effect of ethnicity (F=14.756, p<0001) with non-Asian respondents less tolerant of harassment than Asian respondents of the same sex. In addition to main effects, for composite SHA scores there was a significant interaction between gender and ethnicity (F=8.193, p<004).  10  Follow-up analyses on the differences between ethnic sub-groups were done separately for each gender. The analysis for men showed that non-Asians differed significantly only from Asians who had arrived in Canada before age thirteen (p < .05). Non-Asian women differed significantly from all three sub-groups of Asian respondents (p < .05). Asian women who were born in Canada differed significantly from one sub-group of Asians born outside of Canada, those who had arrived after age thirteen (p < .05). Table 5 reveals a significant effect on the composite SUA score for length of residency in Canada (F = 4.43, p < .013).  Attitudes towards non-coercive sexual behaviour Item and composite mean approval rates of non-Asian versus Asian respondents for the 30 items on the DSFI Sexual Attitudes Scale are presented in Table 6. Item and composite mean approval rates for Asian respondents when compared by length of residency in Canada are presented in Table 7.  Agreement or  disagreement with an item was indicated on a five-point scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). Items were scored in a conservative direction. Liberal items on Tables 6 and 7 are indicated by (R) for reverse keying. Due to the problem of accumulating Type I error across the analyses, a Bonferroni correction was applied to the acceptable significance level resulting in an alpha value of 0.0017 for individual items. Composite scores are considered significant at a level of 0.017 to correct for the use of three scales. Insert Table 6 here. Insert Table 7 here. There were significant ethnic differences on twelve of the thirty items when Asian respondents were compared to non-Asian respondents (Table 6). There were  also significant gender differences on five of the items. The composite scores for Asian and non-Asian respondents revealed a substantial main effect for ethnicity (F = 17.298, p <0001) but not for gender (p > .098). There was no interaction between gender and ethnicity (p > . 10).  Asian respondents were significantly more  conservative in their sexual attitudes than non-Asians respondents.  Within the Asian  group on composite scores (see Table 7), there were almost no significant effects of length of residency in Canada. On one item, Fantasies while masturbating are healthy forms of sexual release, the length of residency effect was significant (F = 7.48, p < .0017). However, all three Asian subgroups differed significantly in their attitudes toward non-coercive sexual behaviour from the non-Asian group (p <.0001).  DISCUSSION These results confirm and extend results found in earlier studies investigating differences in sexual attitudes of non-Asian and Asian students in Canada. Our data revealed that Asian respondents were significantly more conservative in their sexual attitudes than non-Asian respondents. These findings are consistent with previous research (Meston et al., in press; Chan, 1990; Hong et al., 1994). Furthermore, the present study revealed that similar ethnic differences exist in attitudes toward coercive sexuality. Not only were Asian respondents significantly more tolerant of rape myths than non-Asian respondents, they were also more tolerant of sexually harassing behaviour. These results are consistent with the findings of Mori et al. (1995) who sampled Asian and Caucasian college students in the United States and reported that Asian subjects endorsed greater belief in rape myths. Studies of the attitudes of Chinese women within Asia have begun to suggest that women in mainland China are more traditional than Chinese women living in more  12  Westernized communities such as Taiwan (Chia, Allred & Jerzak, 1997). The present study found some differences in attitudes with regards to sexual behaviour between Asian women depending on the length of time they had lived in North America but these effects were not as strong as ethnic differences between Asian and non-Asian respondents or differences between men and women. This investigation revealed that increased exposure to "Western" culture or increased length of residency in Canada did moderate or lead to a decrease in tolerance of rape myths and sexual harassment for both Asian women and men. Asian respondents' tolerance of nine of the eleven rape myths decreased the longer they had lived in Canada. Asian respondents also showed a decrease in tolerance towards sexual harassment the longer they had resided in Canada. Tolerance of rape myths appears to be changing within Asia as well, as laws are being rewritten to protect a wider range of victims of sexual violence. However, prejudicial or false beliefs about rape still exist in Asia as revealed, for example, in recent debates over new laws to protect sexual assault victims in Korea. The Research Center for Asian Women (1996) has recently criticized these new rape laws which only extend to protect "pure" or virginal rape victims. The rape myth that only certain types of women who are raped deserve protection is being entrenched in new laws. The Korean government refused to label sexual violence a crime against human sexual rights and instead chose to label it a crime against virginity (Research Center for Asian Women, 1996). Research in Asia has also found that regulations and attitudes about sexual harassment are changing. For example, laws are being changed to make sexual violence that occurs at work a punishable offence (Research Center for Asian Women, 1996). Considering that differences in attitudes toward sexual harassment changed  13  with increased length of residency in North America, it may be in the best interests of the sexual harasser to become "Westernized" as to the definitions of harassment to avoid legal penalties. It is interesting that our study revealed that length of residency in North America moderated attitudes toward coercive sexual behaviour but not toward noncoercive behaviour. It may be that coercive sexual behaviour is guided more by social cues as to what constitutes appropriate behavior whereas non-coercive sexual behaviour is guided more by individual cues acquired from the home and family environment. Social cues may change more quickly and dramatically when someone moves to a new culture. Individual cues, on the other hand, may be slower to change as new immigrants retain the more personal values adopted from their parents' examples. Gender differences in coercive attitudes were consistent across ethnic groups. We found men in all ethnic subgroups to be more supportive of rape myths than women from the same ethnic group. Gender differences in the endorsement of rape myths for both Asian and non-Asian respondents is consistent with previous research (Mori et al., 1995). Gender differences did not interact significantly with ethnicity. Women disagreed significantly more than men did with nine of the eleven rape myths and with fourteen of the nineteen sexual harassment items. For example, Asian and non-Asian male respondents agreed more with the myth "many women have an  unconscious wish to be raped, and may then unconsciously set up a situation in which they are likely to be attacked " which is problematic when considered with previous research on acceptance of rape myths. Support for certain rape myths, such as the belief that women enjoy sexual violence, has been found to be a predictor for self-  reported likelihood by men that they might use force to procure sex (Briere & Malamuth, 1983). A survey of research on rape myth acceptance indicates that individuals with higher acceptance of rape myths tend to also demonstrate more traditional sex role expectations and greater negative attitudes toward women (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994).  This line of thought is supported by our findings that both tolerance of rape  myths and tolerance of sexual harassment were higher for men than women. Consistent with gender differences in acceptance of rape myths, Asian and non-Asian men were more tolerant of sexual harassment than women of the same ethnic group. This supports research from Asia that has revealed that Chinese men are more tolerant of sexually harassing behaviours than Chinese women (Tang et al., 1995). Attitudes towards women tend to be moving closer to equality but research indicates Asian women may have further to travel than their North American counterparts to achieve equality because of historical characterizations of Chinese women as homebound, passive, second-class citizens (Chia, Allred & Jerzak, 1997; Kim, 1995). While Asian men and women have been found to hold more conservative gender-role attitudes than their United States counterparts, Asian women were found to be less conservative in their gender-role attitudes than Asian men (Chia et al., 1994). Similarly, the present study found Asian men to be more conservative on all three attitude scales than Asian women. Ethnic differences in sexual attitudes throughout North America are worth exploring, especially in light of the FIIV/AIDS epidemic. Conservative attitudes may have important implications for approaches to sex education as recent research in the United States indicates that Asian adolescents tend to have less accurate knowledge about HIV/AIDS than their non-Asian counterparts (Yep, 1993). Ethnic differences in  sexual attitudes are important in planning education for the Asian community. Recent research suggests that Asians historically have viewed FLTV/AIDS as a Western epidemic (Yep, 1993). Traditional conservative attitudes towards sex may inhibit open discussions about sexuality, hindering disease prevention and education within the Asian community (Yep, 1993). Ethnic differences in general attitudes towards sexual activity as well as differences in attitudes about coercive behaviour are important to understanding the multicultural environments that exist in North America today. For example, the higher levels of tolerance of sexual harassment reported by Asian women in the present study may increase their vulnerability to harassment particularly in the context of racist stereotypes. North American research into sexual harassment on university campuses has shown that harassment may be compounded by the stereotype that Asian women are "small, docile and submissive" (DeFour, 1990). Beyond interactions on campuses, in the multicultural work environments, information on different perceptions of sexual harassment may be instructive in planning sexual harassment education programs. Further research needs to be done on ethnic differences in attitudes towards coercive sexuality and potential differences in sexual victimization rates for the Asian community. Whether living in Asia or having immigrated to North America, college students and people in the community must continue to explore and educate themselves about sexual coercion and how to prevent sexual violence.  16  References Baldwin, J. D., Whiteley, S., & Baldwin, J. I. (1992). The effect of ethnic group on sexual activities related to contraception and STD's. Journal of Sex Research, 29, 189-205. Briere, J., & Malamuth, N. M . (1983). Self-reported likelihood of sexually aggressive behavior: Attitudinal versus sexual explanations. Journal of Research in Personality. 17. 315-323. Burt, M . R. (1980). 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Psychotherapists' knowledge about and attitudes toward sexual assault victim clients. Psychology of Women Quarterly. 14, 191212. Ellis, A. L., O'Sullivan, C. S., & Sowards, B. A. (1992). The impact of contemplated exposure to a survivor of rape on attitudes toward rape. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 22, 889-895. Fan, M . S., Hong, J. H., Ng, M . L., Lee, L. K. C , Lui, P. K., & Choy, Y. H . (1995). Western influences on Chinese sexuality: Insights from a comparison of the sexual behavior and attitudes of Shanghai and Hong Kong freshman at universities. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 21, 158-166.  17  Fischer, G. J. (1987). Hispanic and majority student attitudes toward forcible date rape as a function of differences in attitudes toward women. Sex Roles. 17, 93101. Giacopassi, D. J. & Dull, R. T. (1986). Gender and racial differences in the acceptance of rape myths within a college population. Sex Roles. 15, 63-75. Hong, J. EL, Fan, M . S., Ng, M . L., Lee, L. K. C , Lui, P. K., & Choy, Y. H . (1994). Sexual attitudes and behavior of Chinese university students in Shanghai. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 20, 277-286. Janus, S. S., & Janus, C. L. (1993). The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Kim, J. M . (1995). Patriarchal discourse and female oppression. Asian Women, 1, 163-181. Kinsey, A. C , Martin, C. E., & Pomeroy, W. B. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co. Kinsey, A.C., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C. E. & Gebhard, P. H . (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co. Koss, M . P. (1993). Rape: Scope, impact, interventions, and public policy responses. American Psychologist, 48, 1062-1069. Lonsway, K. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1994). Rape myths. Psychology of Women Quarterly. 18. 133-164. Mazer, D. B., & Percival, E. F. (1989). Ideology or experience? 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In Paludi, M.A. (Ed.), Ivory power: Sexual harassment on campus (pp. 93-102). Albany: State University of New York Press. Research Center for Asian Women. (1996). Women's issues and laws: The employment quota system for women, and the punishment of sexual assault crime and protection of victims act. Asian Women. 2, 173-187. Statistics Canada. (1993). Canada year book 1994. Ottawa: Industry, Science and Technology Canada. Tang, C. S-K., Yik, M . S. M . , Cheung, F. M . C , Choi, P-K., & Au, K-C. (1995). How do Chinese college students define sexual harassment? Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 10. 503-515. United States Department of Commerce. (1996). Statistical Abstract of the United States: The National Data Book. (116th ed.). Washington: Department of Commerce. Wiederman, M . W., Maynard, C , & Fretz, A. (1996). Ethnicity in 25 years of published sexuality research: 1971-1995. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 339342. Yep, G. A. (1993). HIV prevention among Asian-American college students: Does the health belief model work? 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" ST -O CD— w o - c £ o 0) ra » o to '> ai t j z ro ra c .2 £ .1 o E c  8 e 111 2.| f 8 JS g S r » 1 ~ co 8x XI c — o c ^ CO ^ ^ro -o3 « ra ^ £ -9 3 w £ d  O fli m x, £  ro c  1 0)  St *  CN CN CN  TJ  I C  P- CO t o (D T N CN CN CN  CNCNCOCOCOCOCNCNCOCOCN  5 w  3 ! ra 2 c E ra o  LL  ra 8.  ™ ° g •s  X  5T E"  .52 " 3 5 0 . '=  s  < c £.0.  O  CHAPTER n ETHNIC DIFFERENCES INCHILDHOOD ABUSE AND T R A U M A Despite growing evidence that child abuse and neglect is a worldwide phenomenon, actual cross-cultural information on child maltreatment is limited (McKelvey & Webb, 1995;Korbin, 1981; 1987a; 1987b; 1991). While efforts to define and uncover child abuse began in earnest in Western countries in the early 1960's, child maltreatment in Asian countries was often dismissed as a "Western" phenomenon (Korbin, 1991). Child abuse and neglect, while now acknowledged, still remain relatively unexplored in non-Western societies (Tang & Davis, 1996; McKelvey & Webb, 1995). Ideally, distinguishing abusive from acceptable child rearing practices would be possible across cultures. However, such distinctions often do not hold for homogeneous societies and are considerably more variable when compared cross-culturally. Concepts of acceptable child rearing practice also change historically. Child labor, for example, while once acceptable in Western societies, is now considered abusive (Glachan, 1991). The gradual banning of corporal punishment in North American schools is another example. The lack of a crosscultural definition of child abuse prevents the creation of universal standards for child rearing (Korbin 1991). Without universal agreement, efforts to define and describe preferred child rearing practices are inevitably ethnocentric (D'Antonio, Darwish & McLean, 1993). In the past twenty years Canada and the United States have experienced a large influx of people emigrating from Asian countries.  In the 1980's  27  and the early 1990's immigration from Asia accounted for over 50 percent of the total immigration to Canada and over 10 percent of Canada's national growth (Statistics Canada, 1993). Since 1971, approximately 36 percent of new immigrants to the United States have been from Asia (U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996). To intervene appropriately in this diverse North American society, potential influences of ethnicity on child abuse and neglect must be considered (Hong & Hong, 1991). In many recent studies on child abuse and its sequelae, however, the ethnic or racial breakdown of the sample is not reported. Studies in the United States have shown that race and socio-economic factors can have a greater influence on the decision to report abuse than the severity of the injury (Hampton & Newberger, 1985). Research is beginning to reveal that types or specific circumstances of sexual abuse vary by race or ethnicity, but ethnicity does not affect the overall rate of victimization (Wyatt, 1985; Mermen, 1995; Sanders-Phillips et al, 1995; Rao, DiClemente, & Ponton, 1992). Race or ethnicity was found not to have an effect on specific symptoms of abuse victims but was related to the duration of the abuse (Mennen, 1995). The study by Rao, DiClemente, & Ponton (1992) found that Asian victims were more likely to have been sexually abused by their biological fathers than White or Hispanic abuse victims. Research into attitudes towards child maltreatment revealed significant effects of ethnicity and social class on attitudes towards types of abuse and neglect (Giovannoni & Becerra, 1979). Research into Asian perceptions of childhood rearing practices is important as there is a relative lack of data on abusive behaviour in non-Western countries for  cross-cultural comparisons (McKelvey & Webb, 1995, Samuda, 1988; Ho & Kwok, 1991; Lieh-Mak, Chung & Liu, 1983). Research into the prevalence of physical, mental and sexual abuse in Asian countries is still in its early stages. According to Singh, Yiing & Nurani (1996), their study on the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in Malaysia is the first community based prevalence study from Asia. In their survey of nursing and medical assistant students, subjects revealed abuse that had occurred 10 to 20 years prior to the survey, refuting the assumption that sexual abuse is a relatively new phenomenon in Malaysia. Studies of early physical abuse did not begin in Hong Kong until 1977 (Lieh-Mak, Chung & Liu, 1983). Samuda's (1988) survey of 100 university students in Hong Kong indicated that 95% of respondents reported that physical punishment was used in their homes, 46% reported that beating was used as the most severe form of punishment, and 35% remembered physical punishment as their most painful childhood physical experience. A survey of Chinese college students aged 17 and 18 revealed that 63% experienced verbal abuse, 13% experienced minor physical abuse and 9% experienced severe physical abuse during the previous year (Tang, 1996). A study of 1,142 Korean school children aged 9 to 11 years found that 58% were mildly battered and 8% were seriously battered in the past year (Kim & Ko, 1990). In studies of both adolescents and young adults in Hong Kong, Shek (1989; 1993) showed that the respondents' assessment of positive parental treatment styles related to psychological well-being. Research in Hong Kong is consistent with North American research showing an inverse relationship between child abuse and the amount of social support available to the parental perpetrators  29  (Chan, 1994). Abusers in Hong Kong were found to be suffering from more parental stress and life stress than non-abusive parents (Chan, 1994). While the research on abuse in Asia is growing, there is no research to show how emigrating from Asia changes abusive behaviour or attitudes as new North American immigrants become more "Westernized". Previous research into changes experienced by Asian immigrants to Canada has shown that an increased length of residency in North America reduces conservatism in attitudes towards sexual behaviour (Meston, Trapnell & Gorzalka, in press). Research has also shown that an increased length of residency in Canada affects actual sexual behaviour, leading to a greater variety of types of sexual activity (Meston, Trapnell & Gorzalka, 1996). Acculturation or adoption of North American values has been shown to influence Asian immigrants' attitudes towards gender roles, career interests and educational attainment at statistically significant levels (Kim, O'Neil, & Owen, 1996; Park & Harrison, 1995; Brandon, 1991). Acculturation has also been measured by looking at changes in childrearing such as breast feeding practices (Staples & Mirande, 1980). It remains to be determined whether "Westernization", or an increased length of residency in North America, affects levels of child maltreatment. Use of physical punishment, for example, may decrease as new immigrants are exposed to the predominantly corporal punishment-free education system in North America. Gender differences in maltreatment rates will also be explored in this study. Research in North America has revealed that boys and girls are victimized at different rates depending on ethnicity (Leung & Carter, 1983). The Leung & Carter (1983)  30  study revealed that while more males were abused in the Anglo-Canadian and native Indian groups, more females were abused in the Chinese-Canadian group. There are conflicting theories in Asia on whether male or female children are at higher risk for abuse. Cross-cultural explorations of child abuse have suggested that certain children may be vulnerable to maltreatment if they are considered a burden to raise, for example, deformed and handicapped children (Korbin, 1991). Historically, in some Asian cultures where there has been a strong preference for sons, daughters were vulnerable to infanticide, lower standards of food and medical care, or sale into slavery or prostitution (Korbin, 1987b; Wu, 1981). Most of the reports on maltreatment of Asians do not consider or analyze gender differences when reporting levels of abuse (Singh; Yiing, & Nurani, 1996; Tang & Davis, 1996; McKelvey & Webb, 1995; Rao, DiClemente, & Ponton, 1992; Kim & Ko, 1990; Samuda, 1988; Lieh-Mak, Chung, & Liu, 1983). Other studies on child maltreatment only look at female victims (Wyatt, 1985; Mennen, 1994). It is important to consider the potential victimization of male as well as female respondents. One recent study from Asia has revealed that Chinese men, in fact, report significantly higher levels of childhood physical punishment than Chinese women do (Tang, 1996). This study was designed to examine both the effects of ethnicity and gender on reported rates of child maltreatment. Further the length of residency of Asian subjects in Canada was examined to see if "Westernization" might differentially influence parenting styles. This research will compare cross-culturally a variety of types of childhood maltreatment including punishment, sexual abuse, neglect and  31  psychological abuse.  METHODS Participants & Procedure Participants were undergraduate students from the University of British Columbia who volunteered to complete a self-report questionnaire in exchange for course credits in their first or second year courses in the Department of Psychology. The questionnaires were completed between January and November of 1997. The final sample size was 1115 female and male respondents. Analyses did not include data from three respondents because of incomplete or missing answers. Participants completed the questionnaire in small groups of 12 or less. Privacy was ensured through spacing and the use of visual barriers separating respondents while they were completing the questionnaire. The respondents deposited their completed questionnaires in a sealed box. Confidentiality was ensured and no names or student numbers were collected with the data. All respondents were advised of their right to withdraw from the study at any point without a loss of participation credits. No respondents withdrew from the study. Demographic information was collected for all subjects who were required to provide their age, gender, country of birth, country of birth of parents, age of arrival in Canada (if not born in Canada), first language and ethnic group to which the respondents felt they belonged.  Over 61% of the respondents were born in Canada,  32% were born in South East Asia and 7% were born elsewhere. Table 8 summarizes  32  the countries of birth for the respondents. Insert Table 8 here The respondents were grouped into non-Asian (500 respondents, 365 women and 135 men) and Asian (615 respondents, 434 women and 181 men) ethnic origins. The Asian category included South-East Asian countries of ethnic origin (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, etc.) but did not include West Asian countries such as India or Pakistan.  Approximately 89 % of the Asian group identified themselves as  ethnic Chinese. The respondents of Asian origin were further separated into groups depending on their length of time in Canada. The following three sub-groups for Asians were used: born in Canada (247 respondents, 172 women and 75 men); arrived in Canada before the age of thirteen (180 respondents, 121 women and 59 men); and, arrived in Canada age thirteen or older (188 respondents, 141 women and 47 men). The average age for the non-Asian respondents was 20.1 and for the Asian respondents 19.3.  Measures A self-report measure, the Child Abuse and Trauma (CAT) scale (Sanders & Becker-Lausen, 1995), was completed by all respondents. The C A T scale surveys different types of abuse including sexual, physical and psychological maltreatment. The C A T scale includes 38 questions to which the respondents answer either (0) for never, (1) for rarely, (2) for sometimes, (3) for very often, or (4) for always. An overall C A T score is computed for all subjects. In addition, 3 subscale scores are  33  computed to measure three distinct, intercorrelated factors of: negative home environment and neglect; punishment; and, sexual abuse. The mean scores for each item included in a subscale are presented in tables for that subscale, along with the analyses for those items. The final table presents the mean scores and analyses for general items that do not factor into the negative home environment and neglect, punishment or sexual abuse subscales but that do factor into the overall child abuse and trauma score. In this article, simple factorial analysis of variance is used to test for overall significant differences among the different ethnic and gender groups in responses to the C A T items. Due to the problem of accumulating Type I error across the analyses of thirty-eight items, a Bonferroni correction was applied to the significance level resulting in an alpha value of .0013 for statistical significance for individual items. Subscale composite scores will be considered significant at an alpha value of 0.017.  RESULTS The mean endorsement rates of Asian and non-Asian respondents for the Child Abuse and Trauma scale items relating to negative home environment and neglect are presented in Table 9.  The F-ratios found for each item for the effects of  gender, ethnicity (Asian versus non-Asian) and any interactions between those two variables are also presented in Table 9. Significant differences are indicated with asterisks. Insert Table 9 here  34  Significant main effects of ethnicity were found for seven of the fourteen negative home environment and neglect items. As can be seen in Table 9, Asian respondents were more likely to report maltreatment for all items than non-Asian respondents of the same gender. For only two items were gender differences significant. There were no significant interactions between gender and ethnicity. Only one question, did you ever wish for a friend to share your life, showed a significant effect for length of residency (F = 16.47, p <0001). The mean agreement on that item was as follows: for women, born in Canada, 1.31, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 1.66, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 2.01; and, for men, born in Canada, 1.32, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 1.66, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 2.17. When Asian respondents were grouped by length of residency in Canada, no significant gender differences were found on any item. Table 9 shows the composite subscale scores for negative home environment and neglect. Analysis revealed a main effect of ethnicity (F = 21.95, p <0001) but not of gender nor was there an interaction between ethnicity and gender. When the composite subscale scores for negative home environment and neglect were analyzed for the three Asian subgroups, no effects were significant. Length of residency did not have a significant effect on maltreatment of Asian respondents. The mean endorsement rates for C A T items relating to punishment are presented in Table 10.  The F-ratios found for each item for the effects of gender,  ethnicity (Asian versus non-Asian) and any interactions between those two variables are also presented in Table 10. Significant differences are indicated with asterisks.  Insert Table 10 here Significant main effects of ethnicity were found for four of the six punishment items. As can be seen in Table 10, Asian respondents were more likely to report maltreatment for all items than non-Asian respondents of the same gender. Only one item revealed a significant gender difference, when you didn 't follow the rules of the house, how often were you severely punished (F = 20.78, p <0001). There were no significant interactions between gender and ethnicity. Table 10 shows that the composite subscale score for negative home environment and neglect revealed a main effect of ethnicity (F = 67.63, p <0001) but not for gender nor for an interaction between ethnicity and gender. When Asian respondents were compared by length of residency in Canada, three items showed significant effects on this factor as shown in Table 11. However, there was no significant effect of gender nor was there an interaction between gender and length of residency in Canada. Insert Table 11 here The composite subscale score for punishment was significant for length of residency as shown in Table 11 (F = 8.04, p <.0001). The mean endorsement rates and F-ratios for the C A T items relating to sexual abuse are presented in Table 12. The number of respondents who answered yes by choosing a (1) or above are also listed. Insert Table 12 here A significant effect of ethnicity was found on only one item, did you have  traumatic sexual experiences as a child or teenager (F = 12.75, p <000T). There were no significant effects of gender nor were there significant interactions between gender and ethnicity. When Asian respondents were grouped by length of residency in Canada, on individual items this factor showed no significant effects nor were there significant effects of gender. There was no significant effect for composite subscale scores for sexual abuse on gender nor was there an interaction effect. The composite sexual abuse subscale score did show a significant effect for length of residency. The mean sexual abuse score for the composite scores were as follows: for women, born in Canada, 0.11, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 0.12, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 0.12; and, for men, born in Canada, 0.04, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 0.10, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 0.21. Reported levels of abuse appeared to decrease with increased length of residency in Canada. The mean endorsement rates and F-ratios for the C A T general items are presented in Table 13. Significant differences are indicated with asterisks. Insert Table 13 here Significant main effects of ethnicity were found for seven of the twelve items. As can be seen in Table 13, Asian respondents were more likely to report maltreatment for almost all items than non-Asian respondents of the same gender. There were no significant interactions between gender and ethnicity. Only one item showed a significant gender difference, as a child were you punished in unusual ways  (e.g. being locked in a closet for a long time or being tied up) (F = 12.92, p <0001). When Asian respondents were grouped by length of residency in Canada, a significant  37  gender difference was found for that same question (F = 10.38, p <001). No other significant gender or length of residency differences were found within Asian respondents. Table 13 presents the composite C A T scores for Asian and non-Asian men and women. There was no main effect of gender but there was a significant main effect of ethnicity when Asian respondents were compared to non-Asian respondents (F = 39.03, p <0001). There was no significant interaction between ethnicity and gender. When the composite C A T score was analyzed for the three Asian subgroups, the length of residency effect was significant (F = 4.816, p > .008). The mean composite C A T scores for Asian subjects grouped by length of residency were as follows: for women, born in Canada, 0.91, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 1.04, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 1.04; and, for men, born in Canada, 0.88, arrived in Canada before age thirteen, 0.98, arrived in Canada after age thirteen, 1.00. Reported levels of abuse appeared to decrease with increased length of residency in Canada. There was no significant effect of gender nor was there an interaction between gender and length of residency for the composite C A T score.  DISCUSSION The results of this study support a growing body of literature suggesting that child maltreatment occurs across all cultural groups. Asian respondents reported significantly higher overall maltreatment than non-Asian  38  respondents of the same gender. Since reporting of child abuse is not compulsory in many Asian countries (Samuda, 1988; Tang & Davis, 1996) the present study may be revealing information not reported in childhood by polling college students raised in Asia and relying on their self-reports to describe the use of physical and emotional maltreatment in parenting. Asians reported significantly higher rates of punishment, negative home environment and neglect as well as greater overall child abuse and trauma. Crosscultural studies of parenting have shown Chinese parents to be fairly warm towards their children but very restrictive and limiting of their children's activities, speech and friendships (Bond, 1991). Our study supports research that claims of reward and punishment strategies in education and child rearing tend to be more strict and authoritarian in Asia than in the West (Wan & Salili, 1996; Bond, 1991; Tang, 1996). The significantly higher levels of punishment reported by Aisan respondents are consistent with research in Asia, where physical punishment has been shown to be a normal disciplinary strategy (Wu, 1981; Tang & Davis, 1996; Tang, 1996; Hong & Hong, 1991; Samuda, 1988). Samuda's (1988) study of physical abuse in Hong Kong showed that injuries were due to excessive application of culturally acceptable discipline. Hong and Hong (1991), in their investigation of attitudes towards abusive behaviour, found that Chinese subjects were significantly less likely to recommend an investigation or to recommend intervention by protective services than Hispanic or White respondents. Chinese respondents tended to judge parental conduct less critically, particularly the use of physical force (Hong & Hong, 1991).  39  Asian respondents reported a significantly higher level of emotional maltreatment on the negative home environment and neglect subscale. This is consistent with findings that reward and punishment strategies in education and child rearing tend to be more strict and authoritarian in Asia than in the West (Wan & Salili, 1996; Bond, 1991; Tang, 1996). Following the cultural belief that conveying praise to a child will spoil them, teachers rarely praise students publicly (Wan & Salili, 1996). In Chinese schools, for example, disruptive behaviour is not tolerated and discipline is enforced through striking, shaming and isolation (Bond, 1991). Chinese parents exercise control over their children physically rather than verbally and tend not to speak to their young children as often as American parents do (Bond, 1991). When looking at differences in maltreatment within Asian subgroups, we found that the punishment and sexual abuse subscales plus the composite C A T scores were significantly affected by length of residency. Asian students who immigrated to Canada after age thirteen reported higher levels of punishment than Asian students born in Canada or those who immigrated before age thirteen. This change in physical abuse may be consistent with an increased stress on families who are newly immigrated. Research has shown that physical and sexual abuse may be aggravated by family stress due to traumatic events or crises and recent immigrants face the added pressures of language barriers, cultural conflicts, job changes, social isolation andfinancialpressures (Leung & Carter, 1983). Alternatively, the higher levels of physical punishment that recently immigrated students may be reporting describes  punishment experienced before emigrating from Asia, where physical punishment is considered more acceptable (Wu, 1981; Tang & Davis, 1996; Tang, 1996; Hong & Hong, 1991; Samuda, 1988). Many Asian researchers have suggested that filial piety, a moral code governing the behaviour of family members, is a key explanation for the tolerance of physical punishment and emotional neglect (Wu, 1981; Hong & Hong, 1991; Goodwin & Tang, 1996; Tang, 1996; Kim, 1995; Lieh-Mak, Chung & Liu, 1983; Tang & Davis, 1996). Under filial piety, parental authority is indisputable and children are expected to subordinate their interests and wishes to those of their parents (Wu, 1981; Hong & Hong, 1991). A filial society depends on children obeying and caring for their aged parents. Parents may feel obligated to use physical punishment or stricter discipline to ensure loyalty, obedience and respect from older children (Lieh-Mak, Chung & Liu, 1983; Tang, 1996; Tang & Davis, 1996). Recent Asian research demonstrates that physical punishment is culturally acceptable and used to ensure obedience and prevent 'unfilial' behaviour (Samuda, 1988; Lieh-Mak, Chung & Liu, 1983). Familism, the idea that the family is more important than the individual, is another cultural concept that may explain the greater tolerance of parental authority in Chinese communities (Hong & Hong, 1991). The importance of the Chinese family unit may discourage the seeking of external interventions (Hong & Hong, 1991). It is interesting to note that we did not find gender differences in levels of maltreatment. Previous research in Canada found that in a Chinese group female  41  children were more likely to be abused, whereas in native Indian and Anglo-Canadian groups male children were more likely to be abused (Leung & Carter, 1983). Theorists have pointed out that female inferiority is preached throughout Confucian discourse, forcing women to suppress their needs throughout their lives while being aware of the preference for male offspring (Kim, 1995). Asian women may be less likely to discuss abuse as they are socially pressured to suppress their own individual well-being to family harmony, and are thereby likely to tolerate higher levels of domestic violence (McKelvey & Webb, 1995; Ho, 1990). Ethnic differences in response to being a victim of abuse have been found in North American research. Victims from cultures of higher levels of parental or male dominance tend to put the needs of their family before their own desires and well-being and tend to remain silent longer (Sanders-Phillips et al., 1995). While women in patriarchal societies, as an unwanted gender, may be at higher risk (Korbin, 1987a), research on the use of punishment in Asia has found that men suffer from higher levels of physical maltreatment (Tang, 1996). Male offspring may be under greater pressure to achieve as they bear the primary responsibility for caring of aged parents. No ethnic or gender differences were found in the sexual abuse subscale composite scores. While non-Asian respondents reported a higher number of traumatic sexual experiences as a child, Asian respondents reported a higher number of family-member instigated incidents of sexual mistreatment. The lack of ethnic differences in rates of victimization is consistent with previous research (Wyatt, 1985; Rao, DiClemente, & Ponton, 1992). Despite the lack of ethnic and gender difference,  42  length of residency was found to have an effect on the composite sexual abuse score. Overall, Asians reported a higher composite score for child abuse and trauma. These rates were mitigated by the length of time spent in North America. This "Westernization" effect on composite scores supports other research which reveals that length of residency mitigates other types of behaviour and attitudes such as sexual conservatism (Meston et al, 1996; in press). Based on composite scores, levels of physical punishment and sexual abuse decreased with length of residency in Canada. General childrearing practices such as verbal abuse were not moderated by length of residency in Canada. In terms of verbal discipline, it may be that AsianCanadians retain distinctive differences in family values and childrearing practices (Leung & Carter, 1983). Alternatively, the family stresses and pressures that accompany immigrating to a new society may not abate quickly, resulting in the higher maltreatment levels for Asian-Canadians. It is important to note the limitation of the present study when considering the reported levels of abuse. These findings may be limited in that our research was conducted with university students who are relatively well-functioning people. Research has shown that people who suffered from more severe types of childhood trauma may not be included in a university student sample (Fox & Gilbert, 1994). Our findings of null gender differences in levels of sexual abuse, for example, are still consistent with research done on study populations who are secured through hospital referrals or random telephone solicitations (Rao, DiClemente, & Ponton, 1992; Wyatt, 1985). Despite the limitation of polling university populations, the level of  43  abuse reported clearly demonstrates that abuse among Asian and non-Asian university students is a serious problem that needs to be investigated. Differences in childhood abuse and trauma experienced must be explored further. To intervene appropriately with children at risk our definitions of child abuse and neglect must incorporate the perspectives of different ethnic groups (Hong & Hong, 1991). Professionals who bear the responsibility of intervention will be more able to accurately assess risk and to identify a family's weaknesses and strengths if they are aware of cultural variations in child treatment (Rubin, 1992). Understanding the pressures of Asian immigrants may be important as failures within the family structure may be more acute in filial societies where less social support exists to assist children. Bond (1991) suggests that in Chinese societies, children must learn to endure the intolerable because options for survival outside of their family of origin or marriage are very limited.  44  References Bond, M . H . (1991). Beyond the Chinese face: Insights from psychology. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Brandon, P. R. (1991) Gender differences in young Asian Americans' educational attainments. Sex Roles. 25. 45-61. Chan, Y. C. (1994). Parenting stress and social support of mothers who physically abuse their children in Hong Kong. Child Abuse & Neglect, 18, 261-269. D'Antonio, I. J., Darwish, A. M . , & McLean, M . (1993). Child maltreatment: International perspectives. Maternal-Child Nursing Journal. 21. 39-52. Fox, K. M . , & Gilbert, B. O. (1994). 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Berkeley: University of California Press. Wyatt, G. E . (1985). The sexual abuse of Afro-American and White-American women in childhood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 9, 507-519.  ON  SO  c o  .5 Z C  CS  o U  rH  CN  CN  H CN  1  1  M  OI  D  CJ  a oo ex a s s a o '3 2 2  o  &  V  H  r  t  CJ  & o ccj-g^rt  r — s o in O  00 00  O  i—i  ON  ON  g  o  c<-> H  l  O  N  O  H  00 N  C  N  '  n  H  H  r  t  i  -  H  H  CO  O  •2  CO  5C  Q CD  O  s o  o & S3  CN  c  •3  cj  CO  T3 C  C  O  O  a.  CO CJ <+-  CN  CO  C CO  1/3  O  CO  a  "3  a  u  o  s o CT  O ^rtNOrtrtHlHOlMHnNHCNlrtHlHJSrtHtllNHHiniHH  o  3  O  o  B  oo  03  CJ  a  i -  Zo  3 o U  H  o  O C N O C O O C S C O C N V ^ ^ H C S ^ O C O  ^  cs  VO "1  M  r  . ' . VI CS O  !  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