The universality of childhood emotional abuse: A meta-analysis of worldwide prevalence

M. Stoltenborgh, M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, L.R.A. Alink, M.H. van IJzendoorn

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This comprehensive meta-analysis combined prevalence figures of child emotional abuse reported in 29 studies, including 46 independent samples with a total of 7,082,279 participants. The overall estimated prevalence was 3/1,000 for studies using informants and 363/1,000 for studies using self-report measures of child emotional abuse. Procedural factors seem to exert a greater influence on the prevalence of childhood emotional abuse than sample characteristics and definitional issues, without fully explaining the vast variation of prevalence rates reported in individual studies. We conclude that child emotional abuse is a universal problem affecting the lives of millions of children all over the world, which is in sharp contrast with the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child. © 2012 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-890
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma
Issue number21 (8)
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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