Document Type

Review Article


Family Medicine


Objectives: To our knowledge, this study is the first in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to investigate the prevalence of child maltreatment in relation to depressive symptoms and self-esteem.
Study design: Exposure to physical maltreatment, emotional abuse and neglect was evaluated in 518 adolescents (86% response rate) randomly selected from schools in Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Rosenberg self-esteem scale and the Beck Depression Inventory were used to measure self-esteem and depressive symptoms by using multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results: The mean age of study participants was 14.3 years. Emotional abuse was the most frequent form of maltreatment (33.9%), physical abuse (12.6%) and neglect (12.1%) followed. Male sex was a positive predictor of physical abuse (OR = 2.12; 95% CI 1.18-3.77), whilst higher maternal level of education was protective (OR = 0.40; 95% CI 0.19-0.86). Daily screen time (OR = 2.77; 95% CI 1.17-6.56) and tobacco smoking (OR = 1.86; 95% CI 1.09-3.18) positively predicted emotional abuse. Emotionally maltreated and neglected participants were less likely to report high level of self-esteem and more likely to report symptoms of depression.
Conclusions: Child maltreatment in the UAE is of a similar magnitude to what reported in other countries around the world and significantly associated with low self-esteem and depressive symptoms.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Review of Psychiatry