Rural-Urban Migration and Experience of Childhood Abuse in the Young Thai Population

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Evidence suggests that certain migrant populations are at increased risk of abusive behaviors. It is unclear whether this may also apply to Thai rural-urban migrants, who may experience higher levels of psychosocial adversities than the population at large. The study aims to examine the association between migration status and the history of childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse among young Thai people in an urban community. A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in Northern Bangkok on a representative sample of 1052 young residents, aged 16-25 years. Data were obtained concerning: 1) exposures-migration (defined as an occasion when a young person, born in a more rural area moves for the first time into Greater Bangkok) and age at migration. 2) outcomes-child abuse experiences were assessed with an anonymous self report adapted from the Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS). There were 8.4%. 16.6% and 56.0% reporting sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, respectively. Forty six percent of adolescents had migrated from rural areas to Bangkok, mostly independently at the age of 15 or after to seek work. Although there were trends towards higher prevalences of the three categories of abuse among early migrants, who moved to Bangkok before the age of 15, being early migrants was independently associated with experiences of physical abuse (OR 1.9 95% CI 1.1-3.2) and emotional abuse (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3-3.0) only. Our results suggest that rural-urban migration at an early age may place children at higher risk of physical and emotional abuse. This may have policy implications for the prevention of childhood abuse particularly among young people on the move.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607 - 615
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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