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Title: Assessing abused children in Saudi Arabia for behavioural and emotional disorders
Author: Alahmed, Ahmed Saad
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 3618
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2015
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Child abuse is a worldwide phenomenon, known to have a psychological and social impact on communities and individuals. This thesis reports a study conducted to assess abused children in Saudi Arabia for behavioural and emotional disorders, as there is a lack of psychological research into this problem in this context. A mixed method approach was used for the research. In the quantitative section of the study, children and their care givers were asked to complete the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, Child Behavior Checklist and the Family Environment Scale. For the qualitative component, the abused children and their parents or guardians were interviewed to discover the problems they experienced associated with the abuse. A thematic analysis was then undertaken based on the notes taken during the interviews. The study sample participants were interviewed in Riyadh, and comprised two groups; 67 abused children and 19 caregivers (parents or guardians), and the second 57 non-abused children and 39 parents. The results from the quantitative data obtained from the abused children and their care givers were compared with the results of the quantitative data obtained from non-abused children and their caregivers. Both sets of data were compared with published norms for the tests. Examining the quantitative data, behavioural and emotional disorders were found to be common among the abused children. However, the differences between abused and non-abused children were not statistically significant on Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, except for younger girls. The differences in total scores for the Child Behavior Checklist between abused and non-abused children were statistically significant for all children, except younger boys. The majority of the families of the abused children were conflict-oriented families. Because the measures used were developed with Western populations, it possible that some of the effects found reflect cultural differences in child rearing practices and expectations of parents about child behaviour. However, there was also evidence of the devastating effects of child abuse and this was confirmed by the findings in the qualitative section of the study. In the interviews, the children showed emotional and behavioural problems including fear, tension, anxiety, and depression. In addition, they reported experiencing some behavioural and physical problems, such as shaking, rapid heartbeat and sweating. The most common themes that emerged in relation to the children were fear, thoughts of death, being forced to do things, lack of trust, low self-esteem, alcohol and drugs, and psychological problems. Further analyses, which categorised abused children according to whether they had suffered physical abuse or not, or according to whether they had suffered sexual abuse or not, failed to show any clear effect of type of abuse on ensuing psychological problems. Rather, this group of abused Saudi children seemed to have a common set of problems. The results of both quantitative and qualitative methods in this study clearly illustrated that abused children are subject to high levels of behavioural and emotional disorders. The results of the study justify further research on this population, and should be used to improve psychological services for abused children in Saudi Arabia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available